Stranded because of the 21-day nationwide lockdown in light of novel coronavirus, many migrant labourers along the UP-Haryana border are using the river route to return back home.
After PM Narendra Modi announced the lockdown on 24 March, several daily-wage workers, left in the lurch, embarked on long journeys via road to reach home. To counter this, states have sealed borders and set up shelter homes for their accommodation.
With roads blocked and transportation services suspended, many of these workers are crossing River Yamuna using rubber tubes or boats in large numbers at exorbitant rates.
In Panipat, migrant labourers are using rubber tubes to cross Yamuna after the Panipat-Haridwar Highway was blocked on Sunday.
The river in that area was 5-6 feet deep but some divers in the neighbourhood were charging Rs 200-500 from migrant workers to help them cross the Yamuna using tubes.
Surender Singh, SHO, Sanoli said his team has been constantly patrolling the banks of the river in the industrial belt of Panipat to keep a tab on any migration using the river route.
According to a report in The Tribune, a boat was illegally being used to ferry migrant workers from Haryana’s Mundigarhi village in Karnal to Uttar Pradesh and those stranded in UP to Munidgarhi village. A sum of Rs 50 was being charged per person by the boat owners. As per the report, these boats would be packed with people.
Local MLA Harvinder Kalyan took cognisance of the incident and warned of strict action against the boat owner, as per The Tribune. Gharaunda SDM Gaurav Kumar said the boat has been impounded, the newspaper reported.
In another such incident, several migrant labourers from Punjab were crossing over to Haryana using Ghaggar river bed near Patiala, reported The Times of India.
(With inputs from The Times of India and The Tribune)