The migrant workers in Telangana continue to face great uncertainty and fear over the possibility of a statewide lockdown similar to last year's.
Their fears of getting stranded without money and food have been compounded after the TRS-led state government recently imposed a night curfew
till May 1.
This has resulted in a huge swell of workers leaving the state capital. The workers suspect that there will soon be a reimposition of last year's lockdown again. Even areas on the outskirts of Hyderabad have been witnessing this mass exodus. Some figures suggest that the number of workers exiting the state daily is a few lakhs.
The city has around 18 lakh migrant workers who are natives of various neighbouring states, including Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Odisha, Chattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.
Of this, around 60% have already left the city a week back. The remaining workers are also reportedly planning to leave as soon as they can.
Public transportation facilities like buses and trains, therefore, are brimming with large numbers of labourers hurrying back to their native places. The overcrowded trains leaving from Secunderabad, Nampally and Kacheguda bear testament to this.
Tickets for the Satavahana Express that plies between Secunderabad and Vijayawada, the Godavari Express that goes to Vizag from Secunderabad, and the Gourami Express that travels to Kakinada are selling like hotcakes, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to make reservations.
Many factory and mill owners, fearing that the flight of the migrant workers will paralyse their businesses, have been trying to persuade the latter to stay on by offering them a number of freebies.
Mill owners, for instance, have been offering free lunch, separate sheds for accommodation, face masks and sanitisers in their bid to stop workers from retuning home.