Indore: It is said that a hungry man is not a free man, and amid the coronavirus lockdown, lakhs of labourers are learning this the hard way.
A large number of labourers and daily wage earners from Maharashtra, fighting their hunger even as they risked contacting the deadly COVID-19 virus, had recently decided to march a long distance of more than 1000 km.
On Tuesday many labourers were seen at the outskirts of the city, struggling with their worst conditions. Free Press talked to a few of them.
Suraj, a factory labourer, with a family of 14 members said, "Our stock of food was over and then we decided to go back home by walking because we don't have money to give truck drivers. We live in Jharkhand which is around 1500 KM from Pune. It took three days for us to reach Indore. On our way, we got food from social groups at many places".
Sonu, a marble factory labourer with three daughters said, "The hunger is forcing us to go back our home at any cost. We would have died of starvation instead of the coronavirus. My wife had already gone to Jharkhand. Now, I am going with my daughters."
Rajesh Kumar who has a family of eight -- half of them women -- said, "We live in Mumbai and going to Lucknow, a distance of 1346 km. We had no food, no work".
The family also has a 3-month-old baby.
Rajesh's wife added, "We are facing such poverty that I'm unable to breast feed my daughter as I can't get enough food. I just feeding her cow milk or else gives water sometimes".