Coronavirus update: Don’t evict tenants for not paying rent, Noida landlords told
Migrant workers have also been trying to leave the district adjoining Delhi and Singh said their movement could also lead to the spread of Covid-19. So, it is important to ensure that people have food and roofs over their heads, said district magistrate B N Singh .
Authorities in Gautam Budh Nagar have issued an order directing landlords against forcing tenants to pay their rents for a month to stop migrant workers from leaving the western Uttar Pradesh district amid the three-week lockdown imposed across the country to halt the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Migrant workers have been among the hardest hit because of the lockdown. Many of them have been prompted to undertake long journeys to their homes on foot in absence of public transport, work and means to sustain themselves.
In an order, a copy of which HT has seen, district magistrate B N Singh has warned of legal action against landlords found flouting the order under the National Disaster Management Act (NDMA). It added the order applies to both landlords of daily wage workers as well as the employees of companies involved in essential services.
The lockdown was imposed from Wednesday under the NDMA, which provides for up to two-year imprisonment for anyone violating its provisions.
Officials said the order has been issued to ensure the essential services are also not impacted in absence of daily wage workers and employees attached with them.
Migrant workers have also been trying to leave the district adjoining Delhi and Singh said their movement could also lead to the spread of Covid-19. So, it is important to ensure that people have food and roofs over their heads, said Singh.
“We are expecting this move will encourage migrants to not leave their houses and the district. We will lodge FIR [First Information Reports] against landlords who will not follow the order. Strict legal action will be taken under the Disaster Management Act,” said Singh.
Officials have provided a helpline number (1120-2544700) for tenants on which they can register complaints if they are harassed over rent. They added landlords can ask for rents after a month only if authorities allow them to.
Maya Rani, who works as a housemaid in Noida’s Sector 137, said she lives on rent with her family of seven members in nearby Shahdara village and they were worried how would they be able to pay their rent on April 1. “If the district magistrate’s order is followed then at least we will get some relief,” said Rani, who is from Madhya Pradesh.
Sachin Bhati, a resident of Noida’s Sector 142, said many people living in his neighbourhood are trying their best to reach their villages because of financial as well as health crises. “This decision of the administration is a relief but it will be great if they arrange vehicles for these people to reach their villages. Migrants really want to go back to their loved ones and homes to feel comfortable,” he said.
The district administration has also formed committees led by sub-divisional magistrates to ensure that migrants are getting food and are not harassed. “I have been providing food packets to around 5,000 migrants daily. There are migrants in every part of the district whom we are trying to reach out with food. Many locals are providing for these people,” said Rajiv Rai, sub-divisional magistrate, Dadri who is responsible for providing food to migrant workers.