Coronavirus Update: Haryana, Rajasthan send migrant workers back to UP
There are reports that Haryana has dispatched 500-600 buses with UP migrants to different cities in the state, including Lucknow.
Amid the blame game between Uttar Pradesh and Delhi over the exodus of migrant workers due to the nation-wide lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19, Haryana and Rajasthan have also started pushing UP labourers working there to the state’s borders.
Uttar Pradesh chief secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari said, “This is true... our residents working in states like Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan are returning to UP in big numbers despite our repeated calls that people should stay put where they are. We are also promising them that UP government will make all arrangements for food and shelter there only.”
Tiwari said nodal officers had been appointed for each state where UP’s labourers worked and stayed, asking them to set up control rooms and ensure people had no difficulty with regard to food and shelter.
There are reports that Haryana has dispatched 500-600 buses with UP migrants to different cities in the state, including Lucknow. About 50 buses of Haryana State Roadways Corporation reached the state capital till 6pm.
Pallab Bose, the UP State Roadways Corporation (UPSRTC) manager of Lucknow region, said Haryana buses with passengers on board were reaching Lucknow via the Agra-Lucknow Expressway.
“We are trying to get these buses to carry our people to their destinations (elsewhere in the state) but if Haryana authorities do not agree we will receive them here near Kakori (on the outskirts of Lucknow) and then dispatch them to their respective districts by our buses,” he said.
According to people familiar with the developments, divisional commissioner Mukesh Meshram got inputs about a large number of buses with UP workers coming from Haryana to Lucknow and other cities. Thereafter, he alerted UPSRTC managing director Raj Shekhar too.
As for Rajasthan, sources said the entry points from Rajasthan were Agra and Mathura, and UPSRTC was handling transportation of migrants through its buses from thereon.
The abrupt, mass exodus started from Delhi on Friday.
After initially taking the stand that it will not allow any person to move from one district to another during the lockdown, the UP government had to operate special buses in the night to take its people home after they massed at different locations on the UP borders.
UP’s minister of state for transport (independent charge) Ashok Katariya alleged the exodus from Delhi was the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) doing.
“First, they got rumours spread that buses were waiting for them on the UP borders to take them home and then ferried them in Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses to the UP border,” he said, claiming, “We have videos showing all this.”
The blame game began on Saturday with Delhi’s outspoken AAP legislator Raghav Chadha’s tweet in which he alleged that the UP police were beating people who were going back to their home state. The tweet was later deleted.
Sharply reacting to Chadha’s remark, UP CM’s media advisor Mritunjay Kumar also posted a tweet, accusing the AAP government of forcing migrants to leave.
“The massive exodus of workers from Delhi is your (AAP) government’s doing. They got neither shelter nor food and water. The Yogi government has arranged buses overnight to bring them back and make arrangements for their stay and food. Don’t resort to lies to do face-saving,” he said in the tweet.
BJP national general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh also tweeted: “Migrants workers tell on camera that they were told that buses will be there at Anandvihar ... DTC buses drop them to Anand Vihar ... Some forces want India to fail when #IndiaFightsCorona. Nation will not forgive them.”
Joining the twitter war, Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia rebutted the BJP leaders’ charges and advised them to “desist from indulging into cheap politics in the time of crisis.”
The round of allegations and counter-allegations continued on Sunday as well.
UP chief secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari avoided making any direct allegations against any of the neighbouring states, but said UP migrants were certainly facing some problems in neighbouring states because of which they were feeling compelled to leave.
“Otherwise, what is the reason that despite the fact that UP houses more than five lakh migrant workers belonging to states like Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, no one is leaving for their home districts?” he questioned.
UPSRTC FERRIES AROUND 1.25 LAKH PASSENGERS
The UPSRTC has already ferried more around 1.25 lakh (125,000) workers, mostly from the Delhi border, to their respective home districts where they will be kept in quarantine for 14 days before they are allowed to move to their homes if they are not found to be infected with Covid-19.
Sources said Anand Vihar in Delhi and Kaushambi in Ghaziabad were cleared by noon though migrants were still reaching Lal Kuan from where they were being ferried to different districts.
“We arranged around 3,000 buses overnight on Friday despite the fact the department was closed. We are ensuring proper sanitisation of buses and providing hand-gloves, masks to drivers and conductors as well as two bottles of sanitizer each for the passengers to use intermittently during their journey,” sources said.