Migrants returned home fearing another lockdown

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Migrants working in various sectors in Andhra Pradesh are returning to their home villages fearing the state could be locked again after the rise in COVID-19 cases.

With the lockdown problems of last year freshly remembered, they don’t seem to want to take any chances.

When the center announced the lockdown on March 23 last year and the government canceled trains, buses and other transportation, workers had great difficulty getting back to their hometowns. Thousands of them from Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Telangana, who worked in different sectors of the state, had to make their way home, carrying children and belongings on their shoulders in the hot sun. Some of them died on the way.

Some video clips shared on social media are reportedly adding to their concern.

“With lockdowns imposed in some parts of neighboring countries, our family members fear a similar situation could arise here and want us to return,” says one worker, Maghi.

Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Vijayawada, P. Srinivas, says some people in some groups post pastime clippings at train stations and bus stops from last year’s blackout, causing panic among migrants.

“Indian Railways did not cancel any trains after the second wave of COVID-19. We run special trains to many sections, ”he says.

“There is no proposal to cancel trains to any state,” said P. Bhaskar Reddy, Vijayawada’s senior divisional commercial manager.

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