Imphal: In what could be termed as an arduous journey 36 stranded citizens from Manipur are en route to Imphal from Mumbai in hired vehicles. They started on Friday amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
The passengers include 14 cancer survivors and their attendants who are travelling in a bus and an ambulance. They are on a 3,200 km journey to reach their destination Imphal.
Nelson Elangbam, one of the travellers, wrote on his Facebook page, “Finally, we hit the highway from yesterday (Friday) night. We, 36 of us started from Mumbai to reach Imphal by bus and one ambulance.”
“It all started with this virus, the uncertain we started having while getting treatment from Tata Memorial Hospital and this lockdown has again locked us all up at Mumbai leaving no choice but to stay in the room without proper food due to this nationwide lockdown,” he said.
According to Elangbam, the patients were looking forward to reaching Manipur and meeting their loved ones. They have completed their cancer treatment in Mumbai. However, COVID-19 outbreak played spoilsport. They were confined to their rooms with inadequate essential commodities due to lockdown.
They decided to travel by road after getting permission for movement from the two-state governments. They had to pay for their travel.
“We booked our vehicle bearing the cost ourselves, thus started this beautiful story of life in wheels for four days on the highway to Imphal,” said Elangbam.
Elanghbam informed EastMojo that the patients spent over Rs 5.75 lakh for the road journey by bus and an ambulance equipped with oxygen cylinders.
Getting permission for their travel was not easy, but Elangbam said that he was inspired and encouraged to push on after seeing hope in the eyes of cancer survivors.
“Finally, we got the movement permit from Maharashtra and Manipur after three days of running from pillar to post,” he said.
All the 36 stranded Manipur natives are on their way to their home state crossing highways and various terrains. They will be passing through six states – Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam and Nagaland. They will reach Imphal after three and a half days.
Despite carrying certified medical documents issued by the Maharashtra government, the group travelling from Mumbai have also appealed to the state government for COVID-19 test upon their arrival in Imphal.