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Bihar govt tells court it can’t bring back students stranded in Kota

Stranded students from Kota walking out of a bus depot in Ahmedabad after they were evacuated, Thursday, April 23, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

At a time when over 12,000 Bihar students stranded in Kota of Rajasthan and their parents have regularly been appealing to the State government for their early evacuation, the government, in a reply to the Patna High Court on April 23, said though it was “sensitive to the plight of stranded students, bringing them back would amount to violation of lockdown guidelines”.

On April 23, a group of students observed a silent protest in Kota while sending out an SOS to the Bihar government to move them back as soon as possible.

The students are stuck in different hostels and paying guest accommodations in Kota, where they went to join engineering and medical coaching institutes to crack competitions.

Also read: How will India emerge out of the lockdown?

Earlier, the Uttar Pradesh government had sent as many as 300 buses to Kota to bring back the State’s stranded students.

On April 23, 38 students from Dadar and Nagar Haveli and six from Diu too left by three buses, while 18 buses from Assam and 31 buses with students from Haryana are ready to leave Kota on April 24, said a report.

‘Situation pathetic’

“My son told me the situation is pathetic there as they are not getting proper food or other facilities as mess, canteen and markets are closed due to lockdown…students from other States have left or are leaving with the support of their respective State governments but we’re are still waiting for that day to come”, a Patna-based parent of a student doing medical coaching in Kota told The Hindu over phone, requesting anonymity.

“I’m a State government employee, you know it will be problematic for me if you reveal my name”, he quipped.

Earlier, an MLA from ruling alliance partner BJP Anil Kumar Singh had got a special vehicle pass to bring back his daughter from Kota and the issue had raised a controversy.

The Sub-Divisional Magistrate, his two security guards and the driver of the MLA, from Hisua constituency of Nawada district, were later suspended for negligence of duty.

But, no action has been taken against the MLA yet. “Why?”, asked the parent of the stranded student.

Earlier, a senior advocate of Patna High Court Ajay Thakur had written a letter to the Chief Justice of the court, asking when the State government would bring back the State’s stranded students from Kota. A person from Patna, Pawan Kumar, too had petitioned before the High Court for evacuation of the students.

“Bihar government has always maintained its stand that the existing guidelines do not permit any such travel”, said the government’s response letter given by Principal Secretary of State Disaster Management Department Pratyay Amrit.

He also said that the department had been in touch with the Kota administration. Eight dedicated student help lines had been started.

The letter also said that as 90 cases of COVID-19 positive have been reported from Kota, it was not “advisable for students there to take such a long and arduous journey as this would increase the risk of infection”.

Those who have managed to come earlier with their parents had been quarantined after being medically examined, said the letter.

The court has fixed April 27 as next date of hearing.

Earlier, Leader of Opposition in State Assembly Tejashwi Yadav, in a series of tweets, had slammed the State government for not bringing back the State’s stranded students from Kota.

“Bihar government should compassionately consider bringing these students and poor migrant labourers back home without any preferential treatment”, said Mr Yadav, adding in another tweet, “under people’s pressure, sooner or later, you (chief minister Nitish Kumar) have to shed your obstinate attitude to conform our demand”.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 10:40:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bihar-govt-tells-court-it-cant-bring-back-students-stranded-in-kota/article31421194.ece

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