AGENCIES, New Delhi: A number of state governments are making preparations for sending and receiving migrant workers a day after the Union Home Ministry gave a clearance for the movement of stranded labourers, students and tourists.
Rajasthan was the first off the block, ferrying out around 40,000 migrant workers since Thursday morning. But many states, especially those from the South, have asked that the Centre run trains to move the migrants to their home states.
Uttar Pradesh has made massive preparations to receive its stranded people. The Yogi Adityanath government, which has so far brought back 12,000 stranded workers from Haryana, has prepared quarantine facilities for 10 lakh people.
Several states, including Bihar, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and some southern states, have asked that trains be made available to ferry back the migrants, citing the distance and the difficult logistics of bus travel. The central guidelines say the people should go by road and the states should make arrangements for the transportation.
In Rajasthan, around 26,000 people were transported to the borders of Madhya Pradesh on Thursday. Another 2,000 were moved to the Haryana border. A similar exercise is underway at the Dungarpur and Sirohi districts bordering Gujarat. Most of the labourers had come to look for work during the harvest season, officials said.
More than 6 lakh migrants have registered with the Rajasthan government, asking for help to get home. They are being screened for coronavirus symptoms and those who not have any, are being allowed to proceed, the state home minister said.
At a meeting this morning, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered that quarantine facilities and shelter homes be set up across the state for 10 lakh people. This would include the existing capacity of around 4 lakh.
Till now, the Uttar Pradesh government has arranged for the movement of 4 lakh migrant workers from Delhi. Students from the state who are stranded in Delhi will also be brought back — a list is currently being prepared, officials said.
Uttar Pradesh has already conducted three tranches of transportation of migrants, which started with the homecoming of around 11,500 stranded students from Rajasthan’s Kota.
On Wednesday, the Centre said that migrant labourers, students, pilgrims or tourists who do not have symptoms of coronavirus can return to their home states. The Home Ministry issued a set of guidelines, in which it asked states to appoint nodal bodies and draw up protocols for the movement of the stranded people.
Sources said the decision to allow stranded people to go home came after pressure from within the BJP. There were concerns that the migrant crisis could damage the party politically and feedback to this effect was given to party chief J.P. Nadda during a virtual meeting with MPs and MLAs.