Covid-19 lockdown: UP prepares to bring back over a million migrants
Last week, the state government brought back 10,500 UP students from Rajasthan’s Kota, the coaching hub of the country for medical and engineering aspirants, on UPSRTC buses in an exercise spread over three days.Updated: Apr 28, 2020 12:42 IST
The Uttar Pradesh government is preparing to bring back over a million people from the state stranded across the country due to ongoing nationwide lockdown restrictions, which are likely to be lifted in a phased manner after May 3.
Earlier, the state government had successfully transported several hundred thousands of migrant workers back home after the first phase of nationwide lockdown restrictions were imposed for 21 days from March 25. The curbs, announced to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, were extended by 19 days.
The state government transported around 270,000 UP migrants, who had gathered on the state borders, adjoining Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), soon after the lockdown was imposed. In an overnight operation, the government brought them back to the state by running 1,000 buses and quarantined them in shelter homes across UP.
Last week, the state government brought back 10,500 UP students from Rajasthan’s Kota, the coaching hub of the country for medical and engineering aspirants, on UPSRTC buses in an exercise spread over three days.
Now, the process has begun to transport more UP migrant workers from other states.
“UPSRTC ferried a total of 9,992 UP migrant labourers from Haryana on 328 buses over the weekend,” said Awanish Kumar Awasthi, additional chief secretary, home, UP.
On Monday, the state government started transporting 10,000 students, who study at various coaching centres in Prayagraj, to their respective districts in UP. The UPSRTC authorities have deployed 300 buses to ferry them.
“However, the operation that’s about to start would surpass all the previous ones combined. We’ll use buses at almost all depots to go to different states and ferry people from UP back home. It’s going to be a long haul lasting several days, and may extend up to a few weeks,” said a UPSRTC officer.
Another state government official said nodal officers would coordinate with the respective states to ferry the migrants stranded in different states.
The state revenue department has been entrusted with the responsibility to quarantine them for 14 days at shelter homes and quarantine facilities in the respective districts.
The department is executing the task through the district administrations that have been apprised of the guidelines.
In a circular to all the district administrations, additional chief secretary (revenue) Renuka Kumar, said, “Because we’re expecting nearly 10 lakh migrants from other states, each district must create the capacity to accommodate at least 15,000 of them. Some eastern UP districts may have over 15,000 migrants coming in. Earlier, the migrants were largely lodged in schools or panchayat buildings, but now, under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, the district administration should acquire larger premises with an adequate number of rooms, washrooms and bathrooms. The migrants will have to be quarantined at these centres for 14 days to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”
In guidelines to the district administration, Kumar said shelter homes and quarantine facilities, kitchens and community kitchens have to be sanitised twice a day. Washrooms must be sanitised thrice a day and wearing a mask or wrapping a cloth around one’s face is compulsory, the guidelines added.
On Monday, Awasthi said that the number of inbound migrants could go up to 15 lakh and arrangements have to be made accordingly.
“On arrival, each migrant will have to undergo a medical checkup. Only those without symptoms should be lodged at shelter homes and quarantine centres. Anyone who is showing Covid-19 like symptoms must be quarantined in a healthcare facility in the district,” said Sanjay Goyal, relief commissioner, Uttar Pradesh.
Like the community kitchens, these shelter homes and quarantine facilities will also be geo-tagged.
The kitchen staff must wear caps, masks and gloves. Social distancing has to be strictly maintained while serving food. When the migrants finish the 14-day quarantine in their home district, they will be sent home with ration kits, as per the instructions.