Bhopal, March 31 : It could take weeks before the impact of more than 125,000 labourers jostling with each other to cross the borders into Madhya Pradesh from different states would be known.
The state government woke up to the crisis almost 36 hours after it hit the administration.
The trauma of being stranded without food in alien conditions and then walking hundred of miles only to be prevented from entering the home state is only one small part of the story for the homecoming people.
No one from among the authorities can predict the possible spread of coronavirus through or among the crowds.
After the loss of livelihood, about 1.25 lakh labourers are reaching home in difficult conditions from the five states that border it.
The workers returning from Gujarat were from districts of Bhind, Morena, Neemuch, Burhanpur, Jhabua, Mandsaur, Betul, Chhindwara and Barwani and were returning via Jhabua and Alirajpur.
On Sunday, the state police and civil authorities were asked to check them at Jhabua and Alirajpur and locate them at isolation centres in different towns and provide them food and preventive medicines.
The collectors and superintendents of police said the traffic has been effectively frozen and the labourers are being monitored for health parameters.
Vinit Jain, Superintendent of police in Jhabua said the task was enormous but the administration was determined to handle it.
Being isolated they can't be engaged in any productive activity like harvesting.
Some of them had to buy provisions by selling Mangalsutra before reaching the home state.
Hundreds of them went hungry for days. While catching every mode of transport many of them were squeezed into buses or autorickshaws like sardines.
So much for the much-trumpeted social distancing.
Someone walked 400 km on foot and reached a sigh of relief. Only about 60 thousand people have returned to the state only from Gujarat.
The government has made medical arrangements to check people on the borders of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
The scene was no different at Datia and Jhansi on MP-UP borders with hundreds stranded on sudden sealing of the borders.
The authorities herded the crowd like cattle and managed to stop them from moving into their respective states.
The open borders on different spots have allowed many immigrants escape medical check-up.
The Maharashtra border via Nagpur witnessed relatively lesser traffic but the health issues remained a matter of concern.
Rajasthan border through the Jaipur near Beawar and Khilchipur has always been porous. Both states have exchanged the virus through frequent movement of people across the border.
A middle-aged person who died on Saturday was found to have contracted the virus. The test report turned out to be positive two days after his death. He had been to Rajasthan border from Neemuch and mingled with the infected persons at a party early last week.
The six states are staring at a horrific scenario and are hoping for the best while preparing for the worst.