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As India goes on coronavirus lockdown, long march to go home claims first life of migrant

LUCKNOW: A migrant worker from Madhya Pradesh, who had left for home from Delhi on foot, died after experiencing chest pain in Agra on Saturday. His death has turned the spotlight on the plight of distressed migrant labourers, many of whom decided to leg it home after the nationwide lockdown came into effect. Short of food and water, and with public transport off the streets, they were left with no recourse but to head home on foot.

Sources said the victim, 39-year-old Ranveer Singh, was working as a delivery body for a restaurant in Delhi’s Tughlaqabad. A native of Amba in Muraina district of Madhya Pradesh, he left for home on Friday after being told that he had been laid off as the eatery had shut down. He walked about 200km before collapsing in Agra on Saturday morning. A father of three, Ranveer and his friends had covered a part of the journey by clinging perilously to a vehicle from Delhi but then had to walk a long distance to reach Agra on Saturday.

It was learnt that after reaching Sikanda in Agra, Ranveer sat down in front of a hardware store, showing visible signs of discomfort. As the shop owner came to check on him, he said he was experiencing chest pain. The shop owner lent him a tent, asking him to spread it on the ground and lie down. Sources said the shop owner even offered him tea and eatables. However, his health continued to deteriorate and he was pronounced dead at 7.30 am.

District police took custody of the body and sent it for autopsy. Agra SSP Babloo Kumar said the cause of death could only be ascertained after the autopsy report is out. Meanwhile, the UP government on Saturday deployed 1,000 state buses to ferry a massive of migrant workers, walking on the Delhi-Noida highway, home. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath assured counterparts in other states that his government would arrange food and shelter for all workers from UP.