BH CORRESPONDENT, New Delhi: States governments should seal borders and encourage migrant labourers to stay where they are by providing food and shelter, the Centre sent out a note on Sunday in an attempt to ensure the countrywide lockdown that had gone off-track over the last few days. Those who violated lockdown and went home, should be placed in 14-day quarantine, the Centre added.
Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 21-day lockdown announcement five days ago, hundreds of thousands of daily-wagers have been making their way home, unsure of the future in big cities where they no longer had food or jobs.
The terminuses and the packed buses — where people even sat on the roof — went against the government’s efforts to ensure social distancing, the only way to slow down the spread of the highly-infectious coronavirus.
To get the lockdown back on track, the Centre issued an advisory to the states on Sunday, which was soon backed up by an order from the Union home ministry.
The states have been asked to stop incoming buses at the border and place the occupants on a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Food and other essentials should be made available to the people during this period, the Centre said.
Action should be taken against landlords who are asking tenants to vacate, the Centre said. Food and shelter should be provided for the needy, including migrant labourers. Sufficient funds are available with the states for this, the Centre said. Also, employers should pay the workers for the lockdown period, it added.
The movement of labourers has already stopped in Delhi. The interstate buses that ran for them for roughly two days were stopped on Sunday morning. Those reaching the bus terminuses in Delhi were told to go home by the police.
Movement within the states, though, is on as migrants working in the state capitals and other big cities, tried to go home. Kerala’s Kottayam witnessed chaos as hundreds of migrants took to the streets, seeking transport to go to their villages.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has again appealed to migrant workers not to leave.In a series of tweets in Hindi, he said, “I assure you that the Delhi government has made sufficient arrangements for your food and accommodation. For now, do not go to your villages in the country’s interest.”
With Agency inputs