Lucknow/Ranchi/New Delhi, March 27 -- Manna Lal has walked 100km over the last 24 hours with almost no food or water. He has to cover 150km more to get home. Lal, 48, is one in a group of eight labourers walking across the length of eastern Uttar Pradesh to get to their ancestral village of Gatla Beli in Bahraich district - roughly 250km from Kanpur city, where they worked as masons.

They left their construction site at 3am on Wednesday after the caretaker told them work would be halted in the wake of the 21-day national lockdown to halt the spread of Covid-19.

"By Tuesday night, we had already exhausted half of our money. So we decided to go home," said Guddu, 15. They first walked to the local railway station, 20km away but it was shut....