As migrant labourers from different parts of India trekked back hundreds of kilometres carrying their scanty belongings and dragging their hungry and thirsty children in the scorching heat of the plains of India to reach home in central or eastern parts of the country after the sudden announcement by the government of a complete lockdown of the country amid the spectre of Corona virus, questions were raised as to whether this ordeal could have been avoided through adequate arrangements of food and safe shelter for the workers at the places of their stay in the host cities and places of work. The employers of the migrant workers closed shop. The workers were also driven out of their rented shelters on
the ground that they would not be able to pay the rent. Their paltry savings also were to dwindle soon. The fear of hunger forced the workers to opt for unimaginable journeys of hundreds of kilometres as all modes of transport had been suddenly closed down. Their choice was between the devil and the deep sea, between starvation and pandemic. India had not witnessed anything like this mass migration across the plains of the country without food or a night’s place of stay for sleep since the days of the Partition of the subcontinent.