Coronavirus | Delhi to Ranchi, Life On A Highway During Lockdown

Coronavirus | The Quint travelled from Delhi to Ranchi to find out how life on India’s highways has been affected.

2 min read

Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam

The Quint travelled 1,300 Kms from Delhi to Ranchi in Jharkhand to report on how people, whose lives depend on India's busy national highways, are surviving during the COVID-19 lockdown. We drove across all of Uttar Pradesh and passed through Bihar before entering Jharkhand.

Empty roads, almost no trucks, no cars. Petrol pumps and roadside dhabas and motels shut. Stark evidence of a country at a standstill. The normally 18-hour journey took us just 12 hours.

On the way, we spoke to the very few truck drivers that we did meet. With dhabas shut, a major support system was missing. Some of them were seen cooking on the roadside. We also spoke to tea stall owners and petrol pump staff, who described how business was next to nil. A lady who dealt in ironware talked about making no sales and how that was a big worry.

Approaching the holy town of Varanasi, we met a group of sadhus who had trekked for three days to return to their ashram.

On the way, despite lockdown, UP police did not bother to check our travel passes or Press ID. At the UP-Bihar we were stopped but waived through after informing the police that we were from media.

Lockdown regulations were being strictly followed at the Jharkhand border, where we were finally asked to show our ID cards. Not just that, Jharkhand police was also systematically quarantining migrant workers who were returning to the state. We spoke to some of these workers, each of them had their own problems and stories to share.

While reporting on the highway we ensured our safety by taking all the necessary precautions.

Watch the video for more.

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