Covid-19 lockdown strands over 60,000 people, mostly migrants in Uttarakhand
More than 60,000 people including migrant labourers, tourists and pilgrims from other states are stuck in Uttarakhand due to the lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus, officials said.
The majority of them are labourers and most are stranded in the border districts of Haridwar and US Nagar that house the main industrial hubs of the Himalayan state, said officials.
In Haridwar district over 5,000 labourers from neighbouring states and state’s hill districts are stranded while in US Nagar there are at least 50,000 labourers from other states as well it sown hill districts are stuck.
District information officer of Haridwar, Archana (who used only her first name) said the administration was taking care of at least 5,000 labourers stranded there.
“These labourers are mainly from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar as well as from the hilly districts of our state who work here in various industrial units. As the government has stopped all inter-state and intra-state transport, they are staying here only with their food and other arrangements being made by the district administration,” she said.
According to the Haridwar district administration, apart from the labourers, there are at least one thousand tourists and pilgrims from other states who are stuck in the district.
Seema Nautiyal, district tourism officer Haridwar said, “As per our information, there are a total 153 foreign tourists and 1,001 domestic tourists and pilgrims stranded in Haridwar. Due to the lockdown, they are staying at their present accommodations only. We are making all possible efforts to help these stranded tourists and pilgrims by providing them with food and other arrangements as required.”
The other major bordering district of US Nagar is the one where there are a maximum number of labourers stranded - at least 50,000, said officials.
“We hardly have any tourist but maximum labourers from other states and hilly areas here. There are about 80,000 to 1 lakh labourers who work here. Many have already left for their native places while some are still here whom we are providing food,” said Prashant Singh, assistant labour commissioner, US Nagar.
Many labourers working at different places had left for their native places in neighbouring states and districts on foot after the lockdown was announced. Apart from this many pilgrims and tourists were also sent to their home states including some Gujarati pilgrims from Haridwar in buses arranged by the government.
State cabinet minister and government spokesperson, Madan Kaushik said, “We are ensuring every possible help to the stranded people. The government is providing food to at least 15,000 tourists and pilgrims who are stranded here.”
Kaushik said, “As there is no movement of any buses and trains due to lockdown, they are staying at their present accommodations mostly. Government is making all possible efforts to help them.”
Earlier on Monday, Kaushik visited the 24-hour Covid1-19 control room in the Police Lines in Dehradun. During his visit, he spoke to the authorities and lauded their efforts. Seven people have so far tested positive for coronavirus in Uttarakhand.