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Migrant labourer walks his distance to have a last glimpse of his dead mother

JAMMU: A migrant labourer from Uttar Pradesh on Saturday left a village in Jammu and Kashmir on foot to have a final glimpse of his mother, who had wanted to see him “one last time”.

“I talked to my mother on Friday afternoon and she expressed her desire to see me one last time. I learnt about her demise around 9 pm,” Ankit Mourya, a resident of Gonda district in UP, said.

Setting out early morning from Kakriyal village near Katra, the base camp of Vaishno Devi pilgrims, for Jammu city, about 50km away, he said he decided to walk after authorities did not listen to him.

“I dialled the helpline numbers in my home district, Jammu and Reasi but got no positive response from anyone,” Mourya said.

He said his sister and brother-in-law live in Jammu and they asked him anyhow to reach there, so that they could arrange transport for all of them to reach his home town in time for the cremation.

Mourya, who worked as a painter in Kakriyal, said private transporters were also charging a hefty amount due to the lockdown.

“My father and another brother are there, waiting for us. I am not sure if we will make it as cab drivers are demanding Rs 50,000 which is impossible for us to pay,” he said.

Hitchhiking, common during non-availability of public transport, has no takers due to the coronavirus outbreak.

A number of people are desperate to return home due to the lockdown and forced to foot their distance.

Three labourers have lost their lives this week while crossing the high altitude snow-peaked passes in the south of the Pir Panjal Range in trying to do so.

Authorities in Kathua have now taken a serious note of private vehicle operators charging exorbitant fares.

Regional Transport Officer Raj K Thapa has warned private cab operators to refrain from overcharging and strictly follow the fare charges issued by the government.

“Any deviation from this shall be dealt strictly under the relevant provisions of Motor Vehicle Act and rules framed thereunder,” the officer said.

He asked passengers to approach the Jammu transport commissioner or the chairman of district road traffic authority to complain incidents of overcharging by commercial vehicle operators.

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