Migrant misery continues: Bihar worker with COVID-19 symptoms abandoned on Mumbai's Eastern Express Highway, now missing

A 24-year-old migrant worker, exhibiting serious COVID-19 symptoms, was found abandoned on the Eastern Express Highway in Maharashtra's Thane on Wednesday. However, Firstpost learnt that a group of activists who rescued him are unable to trace his whereabouts after putting him on an ambulance for Kalwa government hospital.

Ananya Srivastava May 16, 2020 19:17:32 IST
Migrant misery continues: Bihar worker with COVID-19 symptoms abandoned on Mumbai's Eastern Express Highway, now missing

A 24-year-old migrant worker, exhibiting serious COVID-19 symptoms, was found abandoned on the Eastern Express Highway in Maharashtra's Thane on Wednesday. However, Firstpost learnt that a group of activists who rescued him are unable to trace his whereabouts after putting him on an ambulance for Kalwa government hospital.

Sugrim Mahato, a native of Bihar's Saran district had taken the long road home along with several other migrant workers via Mumbai's Eastern Express Highway. He had paid a truck driver to drop him inside the Bihar border, but was abandoned on the roadside after he developed fever and a cough.

Mahato was feverish and dazed when a group of activists found him while distributing food packets and water bottles to migrant workers walking back home.

Dipesh Tank, a Mumbai-based anti-trafficking activist, spotted Mahato lying on a piece of cardboard  by the roadside. When Tank enquired about Mahato's whereabouts, he sounded slightly "dazed and sloshy". Mahato informed Tank that he has fever and wants to go back to his home.

"He appeared a little sloshy when we first found him, and asked if he was drunk. He denied and said he had fever and was out on the roads to reach his home in Bihar. We got a little scared but I helped him out with some cash.. we gave him Rs 1500 and food. Then we left to help others," Tank told Firstpost. 

However, as Tank was returning after distributing food packets to other migrants, he found Mahato sleeping at the same spot.

"We asked him if he had eaten anything, but he said he was having difficulty swallowing. This is when we decided that we cannot leave him there. I tried to get some medicines from nearby areas and called for an ambulance from the local hospital. But the medicine shops were all closed."

Tank said that he waited for the ambulance to reach and asked the driver to take Mahato to a COVID-19 hospital. However, later when he contacted the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital in Kalwa, he could not get any information about Mahato.

"I just couldn't get the right answers. The hospital told us that no patient under that name had reached the emergency ward," Tank said.

Firstpost tried to reach the Kalwa hospital. After several attempts, a member of the staff could not confirm if Mahato was brought there. Meanwhile, the Kalwa Police Station has said they have no information about the incident.

However, the police post in Mahato's native village told Firstpost that efforts to trace him were on. Sub inspector Shivnath Ram, Station House Officer of Kopa police station in Saran district, told Firstpost that he received information about Mahato being taken to a hospital around 11 pm on Friday and he informed Mahato's family.

"Mahato's parents have passed away and he lives with his uncle in Rewari. We have informed him about the situation," Ram said.

Tank has been contacted by the Saran and Thane Police and the Kalyan MP, Shrikant Shinde and efforts to trace Mahato are underway. "I feel really helpless right now, and I don't want to leave him like this. I am ready to pay, if that's required.. But I am scared if he was thrown back on the road, or if he has gone ahead. If they send him back without treatment, I am scared he can infect a lot of other people. He has all the symptoms of coronavirus." Tank said, adding that Shinde has assured him that he will look into the issue.

We will update the story once we find out more details about Mahato's whereabouts.

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