Mahesh Jena (20), a migrant worker pedalled from Maharashtra to travel 1700 Kilometres to his hometown in, Badasuari village of Jajphr district, Odisha.
He took the extreme step as it was a matter of his survival since he was left with rupees only 3000 as an expenditure when the lockdown was announced.
“It was rumoured that factories will be closed for 3 months at a stretch so after sitting jobless for one week I decided to move to my home place,” he told the media.
On April 1, he departed on his bicycle for Odisha which was a long haul of 1700 Kilometres.
“Though I dint have any map to follow, I kept on cycling as per names of train stations from my previous journeys,” he said.
He added that few people known to him asked him not to cycle the long trip.
Mahesh used to cycle for almost 12 Kms daily to go to his workplace and hotel for his meals. This practice gave him the courage to cover the journey.
Mentioning his cycle journey from Maharashtra to Odisha, he said, “I would start running pedals before dawn and keep going till lunchtime.”
Then after taking meals at roadside dhabas, resting and taking nap for a small period, I used to restart the journey. On average, it used to be a daily journey of 200 km.”
In his journey, he would meet some kind people who would offer him few hours of journeys on their vehicles but they would hold back the next moment assuming that it may possess a risk of the COVID-19 while carrying someone with them.
He cycled along the Solapur-Hyderabad-Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam-Srikakulam route through Ganjam district to reach to his destination.
Even the scorching heat during the daytime could not stop him from stepping forward towards his destination, he would take shelter at safe places like schools, temples during the night and would start his journey soon as it was morning.
As a fact of interest, he also convinced Maharashtra police about his cycle ride while crossing the border.
Mr Mahesh reached Jajpur district on 7 April, late evening after covering a distance of 1700 Kilometres.
The members of his family stated that villagers were reluctant to allow him to enter the village without a medical checkup.
Mahesh was sent to a quarantine centre at Upendra Kumar High School at Bichitrapu by the Jajpur district administration soon after his arrival.