INDORE, April 11: A severe spike in COVID-19 cases in Mumbai and persistent talk of a “complete lockdown” there to tackle it has, like last year, made the national highway number 3 skirting past Madhya Pradesh’s commercial hub Indore a prime route for wary migrants returning home to states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
The number of motorcycles, black-and-yellow mini trucks and autorickshaws, teeming with migrants, have been on the rise over the past few days on a bypass road connected to this route, popularly known as Mumbai-Agra road, eye-witnesses said on Sunday.
“The virus outbreak has once again got very severe in Mumbai. There might be a lockdown and it may, like last year, render us jobless. So we have decided to return home,” said Ramsharan Singh (40), making his way back to Ballia in Uttar Pradesh in an autorickshaw.
Similar is the case with Mohammad Shadab, going back to his hometown in Bihar’s Bhojpur district. “I work in a restaurant in Mumbai. I will think of returning there if the situation improves. Or else, I plan to stay back in Bihar and look for work,” he said.
Thanks to a weekend lockdown, and inter-state travel exempted from it, these vehicles moved past Indore quickly as normal traffic on the roads was thin.
Last year, the route witnessed bumper-to-bumper traffic as people trying to escape a crippling coronavirus-induced lockdown in Mumbai and adjoining areas made their way home to eastern and northern states in some of the most helpless and trying travel conditions. – PTI