NEW DELHI: As the lockdown stretches on, the desperation among migrants to return home has increased and many are finding different means to reach home. While some are boarding trucks and vans, many others seen walking back or cycling, covering hundreds of kilometres.

Migrants from Punjab, Rajasthan or Himachal Pradesh are seen walking or cycling on the national highways passing through the capital, carrying their belongings. Women are seen walking with baggage on their heads and children in their arms.

“We are coming from Noida and going to Bihar. The people there said we would find vehicles to our hometown from Delhi, that’s why we came here. But we have been walking on the road for 2-3 days now.

“Our property owner was demanding rent, which we cannot afford. There is no food and we are eating whatever people are giving us on our way. We are not getting the tickets. They are not letting us cross the border,” says Suraj Kumar.

“We are coming from Punjab and have been travelling for 7-8 days. We found a driver along the way who let us ride with him and did not even charge us like auto rickshaw drivers are charging us here.

“Back in Amritsar, we were facing problems related to food and shelter. Work has shut down. People sometimes give us eatables like bananas etc. on the road. We have not stopped once on our way until now. Only these people have stopped us,” says Deepak Kumar.

“They ask for Rs 1,000–1,500 per person which we cannot afford. That is why we’re helpless. Since the past two and a half months, work has shut down. We do not have any food or supplies. The police here ask us to get our passes made. But we don’t know the process,” says Ashok Das.

(Words: Kapil bhardwaj. Photos: Mohit Dock)