A migrant’s 750 km-walkathon from Raigad to Chandrapur!

Chandrapur (Maharshtra), April 18 : This is one migrant computer operator who earned laurels of the people and police alike after he walked down nearly 750 km from Panvel in Raigad to a warm welcome in his native village Ghugus in Chandrapur, a distance of 900 km covered showing human courage at its height.

For Ajay Banduji Satorkar, 32, the foot journey started at 5 a.m.

on April 2 at the height of Lockdown1.0, and ended in his village on April 16 in Lockdown2.0

And after walking on the treacherous roads without a break for 15 days, he walked straight into the safety of 14 days' quarantine!

Like many other migrants in the country, Satorkar - employed as a computer operator with a private university - was stuck in a room, usually shared with some others, but all had deserted after the lockdown was announced on March 24 in the state and nationwide on March 25.

"He had only Rs.300 cash, but a lot of confidence and a burning desire to reach home and reunite with his family at any cost.

Without a thought, he packed his few belongings and left Panvel at 5 am on April 2," a relative told IANS.

The walkathon was tiring and but adventurous, his legs briskly gobbling up kms daily, ranging from the cool hills in the Sahyadri Ranges of western Maharashtra to the scorching plains in Marathwada, bathing and wading through streams or crossing major rivers with some local help, and finally sighting the familiar breezy forests of his home terrain in Chandrapur.

"It was a tough challengea For the most part I walked alonea On some stretches, totaling to around 150 kms, I got lifts by local vehicles which was some relief," the road-battered Satorkar told excited local mediapersons on Thursday morning outside his village.

The 900-km journey was him traversing at least 9 districts - including some 150 kms rides on motorcycles, trucks, ambulance and police vans -Astarting from Raigad to Pune, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Jalna, Buldhana, Washim, Yavatmal and finally to his home village in Chandrapur.

Avoiding the roads at night, he walked 18 hours and spent his first night outside a shop in Pune, again on his feet at 8 am, he walked 20 kms to get a lift on a motorcycle for 40 kms.

At one location, some NGOs were distributing food and he joined the queue, ate and then walked down to Ahmednagar where he spent the night on the steps of a Lord Hanuman temple.

Outside Koregaon-Bhima village, a poor but kindly family offered Satorkar a meal of dry chapatis and pickle.

As he thanked and prepared to leave, he met another migrant and they both spent the night there.

The next morning he proceeded to Aurangabad and got a lift in a truck for 30 kms, walked to Shendra where the people of Preet Towers had made accommodation arrangements, a medical checkup, a welcome meal and luckily, even got to charge his mobile!

From Aurangabad he reached Jalna and had only a packet of biscuits all day, but though hungry and tired, he slept outside a shut adhaba', next day he trudged to Shendurjana Ghat, and he got a 10 km lift on a motorcycle to Mehkar.

Again from Mehkar to Washim, he got a ride in an empty ambulance for 35 kms, spent the night hungry outside a village dhaba, and next day managed to get a meal and reached Pusad to sleep on the outskirts of a village.

On April 13 afternoon, he reached Digras and was happy to see the Maharashtra government's aShiv Bhojan Thaali' being served at a bus stop for Rs.5 and went for a medical checkup at the local government hospital where they served him dinner.

The next morning, he got a ride in a truck to reach Ghatanji where he again enjoyed a aShiv Bhojan Thaali' and continued walking to Umri in Washim district.

En route Umri to Wani in Yavatmal district, he managed to get delicious watermelons which served as his meal and spent the night outside a close hotel.

In Wani, he bought a packet of biscuits and trudged down to Chandrapur district, crossing the Wardha River, and was stopped by a police team there.

Satorkar was taken in a police van - "with full social distancing" - to his native Ghugus village where he called his friends and the local police.

"Some of the local policemen marveled at his long journey and even saluted hima One of them jokingly remarked that asince you have walked two weeks, now you will get two weeks rest (quarantine)' and whisked him off to an isolation centre in Chandrapur," said the family member.

Though he has become a living legend, Satorkar has yet to freely meet his family or mingle with relatives and friends which he will do only after emerging from quarantine, 12 days later.



Source: IANS