GUWAHATI, April 22: Amid the nationwide lockdown, a 45-years-old migrant worker from Gujarat reached his home in Assam in 24-days after a 2,890-km trip, of which he had to walk about 1,500 km.
Jadav Gogoi, who was working as a security guard in Gujarat's Rajkot city, was admitted at the civil hospital at the Nagaon district headquarters for mandatory quarantine for nCoV.
He was rescued by the locals and police at Ahotguri, 35-km from the district headquarters, on Sunday evening.
Doctors attending to Gogoi said that besides obligatory quarantine formalities, he needed other medical treatments as he was physically exhausted apart from other ailments for walking thousand of kolometres without sufficient food and other precautions.
According to the man's family and villagers, when the lockdown started on March 25, Gogoi left Gujarat with his three colleagues from Bihar in an Uttar Pradesh-bound goods-ladden truck.
From Uttar Pradesh, Gogoi and his three companions started walking for Bihar on March 27.
"The exact distance and names of places he walked could not be ascertained because Jadav, who is not comfortable in reading and speaking Hindi, also could not distinguish where he had alighted in Uttar Pradesh. Guided by his three colleagues, Gogoi walked till Bihar where the others stayed back," Asom Jatiatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) leader Dibyajit Hazarika told IANS over phone.
The distance by road from Lucknow to Nagaon in central Assam is around 1,500 km.
For Gogoi, the last leg of his journey on foot across Bihar was the most strenuous one. From Bihar, he alone had to walk the remaining stretch of around 1,000 km.
Hazarika said that Gogoi was in a hurry to reach home and did not even take a day's rest when his colleagues stayed back in Bihar.
According to the AJYCP leader, right from the begining, he survived on biscuits and unhygienic water as roadside hotels, food stalls and other eateries had been shut because of the lockdown. Besides, he did not have money as he was robbed of the Rs 4,000 he carried and other valuables including mobile phone on the way.
Gogoi's wife Puspalata told the local media: "He (Gogoi) was working in Gujarat for the past nine months. He had told me that he would come back home permanently on Bohag Bihu and start farming in the village. When the lockdown was announced, he feared we would suffer in his absence and that forced him to come back home on foot."
Ranjit Phukan, a neighbour of Gogoi, told the media, "From March 27 till Sunday, Jadav called me several times from his own mobile and subsequently from others' moble (after he was robbed), but I was not able to lend any real help to him except to give some suggestions during his walkathon."
The Assam government on Monday launched the "Assam Cares" app to provide financial aid to thousands of Assamese stranded in various states due to the lockdown.
Assam's Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said through phones and online platforms, over 4.25 lakh Assamese stranded in other states had been contacted. "We have provided a one-time ex gratia of Rs 2,000 to 86,000 of the 4.25 lakh people. Another instalment would also be considered during the lockdown," he said.
He said over 68,000 Assamese were stuck in Karnataka, 36,000 in Tamil Nadu, 34,000 in Kerala, 21,000 in Maharashtra and the rest in other states.
"Through the process of providing financial aid, the government will be able to create database of the stranded people. It will help the state locate them on return to the state after the end of lockdown," Sarma said.
According to officials of six other northeastern states (excluding Assam), over 15,000 people including migrant workers of the northeastern region are stranded in different states of the country due to the lockdown. - IANS