Amid Mumbai lockdown talk, migrant movement seen on Madhya Pradesh route

A sharp spike in COVID-19 cases in Mumbai and ongoing talk of a “complete lockdown” to resolve this issue have made National Road 3, which passes Madhya Pradesh’s Indore commercial center, a major route for, as last year made cautious migrants returning home to states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

The number of motorcycles, black and yellow mini trucks and auto rickshaws full of migrants has increased in recent days on a bypass associated with this route, popularly known as the Mumbai-Agra Road, on Sunday.

“The virus outbreak has become very serious again in Mumbai. There could be a lockdown that could make us unemployed like last year. That is why we have decided to return home,” said Ramsharan Singh (40), returning to Ballia in Uttar Pradesh in an auto rickshaw.

It is similar with Mohammad Shadab, who is returning to his hometown in the Bhojpur district of Bihar.

“I work in a restaurant in Mumbai. I will consider going back there when the situation improves. Or I plan to stay in Bihar and look for work,” he said.

Thanks to a weekend closure and an interstate drive exempted, these vehicles drove 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 coronavirus-induced crippling in Mumbai and surrounding areas returned to the eastern and northern states in some of the most helpless and difficult travel conditions.

Mumbai reported 9,330 new cases and 28 deaths on Saturday, with the number of infections rising to 5/10,512 and the death toll rising to 11,944.

The Mumbai division, which includes the metropolis and adjoining boroughs, reported 18,241 new cases and 89 deaths during the day, bringing the number to 10,64,221 and the number of deaths to 21,028.

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