What would one do, if stuck in a different city during a lockdown, and want to go home?
With travel banned across the country, people have no other option but to stay wherever they are during the lockdown period. Movement of taxis, passenger cars, buses, trains and planes has all been restricted by the government.
However, as the saying goes “where there’s a will there’s a way”, a man in Mumbai made the impossible possible by travelling around 1400 km during lockdown to reach his home in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. And most importantly, he did not break any rules (technically) while doing so.
Just like hackers exploit loopholes present in a system, Prem Murthi Pandey came up with a similar plan. Pandey works at Mumbai Airport and appears to have good knowledge of how the transportation system works. He noticed that while passengers were not allowed to travel, there was no such restriction on movement of essential goods. This was when he decided to disguise himself as an onion trader to reach his home in UP.
To get acquainted with the practicalities involved in the transport of essential goods, Pandey first hired a mini-truck to transport watermelons from Pimpalgaon near Nashik to Mumbai. Once that deal was successfully executed, Pandey initiated his primary plan to travel to his home in UP. He purchased 25.5 tons of onions from Pimpalgaon market, which cost him Rs 2.32 lakh. Next, he hired a truck to transport the onions from Pimpalgaon to his home in UP. The truck’s rent was Rs 77,500.
Pandey’s plan worked flawlessly and he did not face any problems on the route. In UP, he went to Mundera wholesale market to sell the onions. However, he couldn’t do so, as no one was willing to pay cash for such a large consignment of onions. Disappointed, he travelled to his village, Kotwa Mubarkpur, along with the onions.
Somehow, the authorities were informed about Pandey’s plan and they tested him for coronavirus. He has also been asked to self-quarantine himself at home. Pandey is hopeful that he will be able to sell his onions in the coming weeks and recover part of the invested amount.
If you are wondering what was the desperation that prompted Pandey to take such a radical step, the answer is fear of coronavirus. Pandey lived in Azad Nagar in Andheri East, which is a highly congested area. As the number of coronavirus cases was rising in Mumbai, Pandey was afraid that he could get the infection. Travelling in the garb of transporting essential goods was the only option available, which is exactly what Pandey did.