Eighteen migrant workers were found holed up inside a cement mixer in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday as they were trying to reach Uttar Pradesh from Maharashtra, ANI reported. The police have filed a first information report in the case and seized the truck.

Police officers posted on the border between Madhya Pradesh’s Indore and Ujjain districts had stopped the truck for checking, according to NDTV. The driver’s behaviour made the police suspicious. They proceeded to check the cement mixer and found 18 men inside.

A video of the incident shows the migrant labourers coming out of the mixer one by one, holding their meagre belongings. “Count them,” a police officer shouts and orders the migrant workers to maintain distance.

The migrants were taken to a quarantine centre and screened for Covid-19, according to NDTV. The state government is now making arrangements to take them to Lucknow.

Left without jobs, food and shelter because of the nationwide lockdown, lakhs of migrant workers are desperate to go home. The government has now given permission for inter-state travel and arranged special trains to take stranded workers to their native places.

Hundreds of migrant workers and students, stranded amid the nationwide lockdown to control the rapidly-spreading Covid-19, boarded special trains and buses to return home on Saturday. The Ministry of Home Affairs had allowed movement of migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and “other persons” by special ‘Sharmik’ trains on Friday.

The nationwide lockdown has been extended for two more weeks from May 4. Travel by air, rail, metro and inter-state movement by road – except for stranded workers and students – is still banned. The number of coronavirus cases in India has risen to 37,336 and 1,218 people have died, according to the Union health ministry.

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