Centre allows inter-state bus travel for migrants stranded due to lockdown

In its revised guidelines, the MHA said all States/Union Territories should designate nodal authorities and develop standard protocols for receiving and sending such stranded persons

inter-state movement, migrant workers, stranded people, migrant labourers, Lockdown, coronavirus, COVID-19
Many of the thousands of migrant workers travelling home have been killed in road accidents en route. Photo for representational purpose only: PTI

In a first amid the nationwide lockdown, the Centre on Wednesday (April 29) allowed inter-state movement of people stranded across the country. Migrant labourers, pilgrims, tourists, and students would be allowed to move on buses.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in its revised guidelines, said all States/Union Territories should designate nodal authorities and develop standard protocols for receiving and sending such stranded persons while also registering them within their regions.

“In case a group of stranded persons wish to move between one State/UT and another State/UT, the sending and receiving States may consult each other and mutually agree to the movement by road,” the MHA guidelines said.

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The moving person(s) would be screened and those found asymptomatic would be allowed to proceed, it said, adding that “buses shall be used for the transport of groups of persons.”

“The buses will be sanitised and shall follow safe social distancing norms in seating,” the guidelines read.

The States/UTs falling on the transit route will allow the passage of such persons to the receiving State/UT. “On arrival at their destination, such person(s) would be assessed by the local health authorities and kept in home quarantine unless the assessment requires keeping the person(s) in institutional quarantine. They would be kept under watch with periodic health check-ups. For this purpose, such persons may be encouraged to use the Aarogya Setu app through which their health status can be monitored and tracked,” it said.

As per the census 2011, nearly 45 crore people had migrated from one state to another for work. Around 30.9 crore of them are women.

Scenario in Tamil Nadu

A senior IAS officer in Tamil Nadu, who is a part of the high-level committee handling the crisis in the state told The Federal that they would be appointing a nodal authority for movement of migrant labourers on Thursday (April 30).

“Since the order came in the evening, we are in the process of appointing nodal officers and will subsequently take a survey to identify the route the labourers would have to move. This is to make necessary transportation facilities for intra-state and inter-state migrant labourers,” the officer said.

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The official said a government order regarding the process would be released after assigning the nodal officer and medical officer to screen the incoming people and outgoing people.

Meanwhile, police in the State were asked to take precautionary measures and intensify the strength of the team in areas where migrant population was high and avoid mass gatherings at bus stands and railway stations.

Karnataka scene

Karnataka will take a decision on bringing back people stranded in other parts of the country after assessing the numbers, Suresh Kumar, Minister in charge of the COVID-19 updates in the state, has said.

The state would take a call soon. However, for people from Karnataka who are stranded in Gujarat, the state had made arrangements to bring them back in buses, he said.

The government instructed the Deputy Commissioners concerned of all the districts to make arrangements to bring back those stranded. The government on April 25 made such arrangements for migrants from North Karnataka who were stuck in Mangaluru, he added.

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There were no reports of migrant workers coming out and assembling at bus and railway stations in the hope of getting home. Mumbai’s Bandra witnessed such a situation when thousands of hapless migrant workers gathered at the Bandra West railway station on false news that they could get home on trains

According to the Union Health Ministry, the death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 1,008 and the number of cases climbed to 31,787 in the country on Wednesday, registering a record jump of 71 deaths in the last 24 hours.

There has been a spike of 1,813 cases since Tuesday evening. The number of active COVID-19 cases stand at 22,982, while 7,796 people have recovered, and one patient has migrated, the ministry said.

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