Lockdown: Odisha youth pedals 1,800km from Maharashtra to reach home

The youth purchased a used bicycle for Rs 1, 200 and spent another Rs 500 for repair work before beginning his journey.

Jajpur: With all transport facilities remaining suspended across the country due to the COVID-19 lockdown,  a 25-year-old youth from Jajpur district who worked as a daily wager in Maharashtra, pedalled back to his hometown covering around 1,800 km. And, it took him a week’s time to reach the village.

The youth, Mahesh Jena,  worked as a mason in a construction company in Sangli district.

Following the nationwide lockdown, Mahesh was left jobless and barely resourced to survive in the city.  With Maharashtra being the most affected state by coronavirus and the situations aggravating every passing day, migrants from far off areas started walking back to their native places.

Amidst the exodus, Mahesh purchased a used bicycle for Rs 1, 200 and spent another Rs 500 for repair work. He left Mumbai at around 4: 30 am on April 1 and reached his hometown on April 7. He would pedal for 10-12 hours a day till 12 am and then rest at roadside dhabas or temples. He would stop to eat wherever any local police personnel or organization would provide him food for free.

As per sources,  Mahesh was stopped twice by police on Andhra-Maharashtra border and Andhra-Odisha border. However, after making inquiries and checking his Adhaar card, the cops let him pass.

Sweating out for days, the youth  finally reached his house at Bhanara village under Bari block on April 7 evening and his happiness of reaching his native overpowered all exhaustion from his journey. Soon after he reached, Mahesh was taken to the District Headquarters Hospital (DHH) for screening, where he did not show any symptom for COVID-19. Later, he was sent to a Government quarantine centre.

Mahesh is currently spending his 14-day quarantine and waiting for a nod from the health officials to go back to his family.


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