Over eight lakh migrant workers left the Capital for their respective hometowns during the first four weeks of the lockdown imposed in the city to contain the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, says a report prepared by the Delhi Transport Department.
According to the report, which considered the period between April 19 and May 14, a total of 8,07,032 migrant workers left the city aboard buses; as many as 3,79,604 departed during the first week of the lockdown. The number reduced to 2,12,448 in the following week when the lockdown was extended for the first time. In the third week, it came down further to 1,22,490 and in the fourth week 92,490 migrant workers left Delhi on government-run buses.
The report, however, specified that “train travel” was the preferred mode of migrants this year as trains were operational unlike last year when they stopped running during the national lockdown imposed by the Centre in March. A lot of migrant workers also left in private buses and hired vehicles which were not taken into account in the report.
The report sought to credit the Delhi government’s “timely coordination” with transport authorities of neighbouring States such as Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand among others in assisting about eight lakh migrant workers in reaching their respective destinations “without any difficulty”.
21,879 inter-State trips
According to the report, there were 21,879 inter-State bus trips during the four weeks of the lockdown, which began with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s first announcement of a week-long curfew on April 19. The lockdown, which has been extended four times since then, is likely to continue till May-end, said government sources.
The report stated that the Delhi Transport Department learnt from “past experience” viz. the first surge of migrant workers leaving the city in March 2020. This year, the department prepared a plan for deployment of 500 cluster buses on inter-State routes under emergency and, it claimed, there were no complaints of overcharging as the buses were operated by State governments.