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Facilitate early return of migrants to mitigate risk of infections: Nitish to officials

PUBLISHED ON MAY 15, 2020 10:48 PM IST

Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Friday directed officials to complete the process for early evacuation of migrant workers, particularly from places with high incidence of Covid-19 infections, by special trains and also initiate steps for reimbursing the amount spent on rail fare, along with an additional amount of Rs 500, into the bank accounts of all those serving their mandatory quarantine period upon their arrival.

“Any delay in bringing back migrant workers, especially from locations having high incidence of Coronavirus spread, will only increase the risk of being exposed to the threat of getting infected,” he said, while presiding over a high level meeting to review the situation.

The move assumes significance after the number of Covid cases in the state coincided with the arrival of migrant workers as many of them have tested positive.

The state government has already given nod for the running of a large number of Shramik Special trains, originating from different states, to facilitate the return of stranded migrant workers. In addition to giving permission to press buses for ferrying them back, it has also allowed small vehicles to be pressed into service for the purpose of bringing them back from nearby states and locations.

With media reports highlighting the plight of migrant workers, a sizeable number of whom started to trudge back home on foot in the absence of proper co-ordination, chief minster also issued an appeal asking them not to walk or make detours to reach the state. “Adequate steps are in place to facilitate your return. There is no need for putting yourself to such hardship,” he said.

“All those who have reached railway station or the borders of the state will be sent to their native places by suitable transport. There is absolutely no need to walk. All you need to do is to inform the nearest police station of the block office and arrangements will be made for forward journey,” the chief minister said.

He also directed officials to maintain proper arrangements at the designated quarantine centres and assured migrant workers that there was no cause for apprehension even as he appealed to all those put up at these centres to maintain discipline and co-operate with the administration.

“Observing the mandatory quarantine period with norms prescribed for social distancing and hygiene is in the overall interest of the concerned, their families and society,” Kumar said, in an apparent hint at stray instances of attempts to create disturbance by inmates at few places.

As for the expenditure incurred on rail fare for boarding special trains, Kumar asked officials to complete advance planning for the reimbursement of the amount spent, along with an additional sum of Rs 500, into the account of all those staying at quarantine centres.

The state government has mandated that the amount would be directly transferred into the bank accounts of all those completing the compulsory 21-day quarantine period. “In any event, the amount will not be less than Rs 1,000 announced for each of the migrant workers stranded in the places f their work, in wake of the nationwide lockdown,” Kumar said, reiterating government’s decision.

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