Other States

Coronavirus | 70 migrant workers jump quarantine in Bihar

Migrant workers from Bihar walk to their villages, hundreds of miles away, on a highway near State Legislative Assembly in Hyderabad. File.

Migrant workers from Bihar walk to their villages, hundreds of miles away, on a highway near State Legislative Assembly in Hyderabad. File.   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

They complain of poor facilities and lack of food

At a time when thousands of migrants are returning to Bihar every day and the State government is grappling with the herculean task of their isolation, over 70 migrants on Saturday fled from a quarantine centre in Nawada district, citing poor facilities and lack of food.

As many as 200 migrants are quarantined at Aadarsh Inter School at Sirdala block in Nawada district. On May 8, the sample test report of one of those migrants had come as positive for COVID-19.

Also read | Nitish govt. not helping stranded people: Prashant Kishor

Over 70 migrants on Saturday morning fled from the quarantine centre, alleging poor facilities and lack of food and drinking water. Local TV news channels broadcast images of the migrants fleeing away from the centre with their belongings. Some women migrants with children too were seen.

Local officials are said to be involved in tracing them.

Also read | Five Bihar Military Police personnel test positive for COVID-19

Similar reports of migrants complaining of food and drinking water not being served came from a quarantine centre located at Amarpur block in Banka district.

Earlier, over 20 migrants had run away from a quarantine centre in Katihar district of northeast Bihar. They too had complained of lack of proper amenities and food.

Videos of hapless migrant workers housed in quarantine centres and complaining of lack of facilities, food, drinking water, toilets, washroom and beds have been pouring in on social media from different parts of the State. In one of the videos, the migrants could be seen locked at a centre, alleging lack of food and drinking water.

The State government, though, has banned the entry of media at quarantine centres. Recently, an order released by Munger District Magistrate instructing his junior officials to ban media persons from visiting quarantine centres went viral on social media.

Panel to be formed

Meanwhile, sources told The Hindu that the government is mulling to form a local-level committee under Circle Officers (COs) to look after the quarantine centres set up at block levels. The Panchayat members too will be engaged in the committee.

Earlier, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had announced that he had instructed officials to provide food, drinking water, soap and other required facilities for migrants at each and every quarantine centre.

However, the videos sent by the quarantined migrants on social media tell a different tale.

“The ground realities are quite different from what the Chief Minister and the officials have been announcing in Patna…the situation at block level quarantine centres are not only bad but pathetic where no one can stay even for an hour” , a local journalist from Katihar told The Hindu over phone.

“The local-level officials either are misleading their superiors in Patna and they to the Chief Minister or making arrangement for such a large number of migrants coming to the State has become an impossible task for the government”, said a retired Patna University professor.

“Ignorance seems to be bliss for them”, he added.

The Bihar government has set up over 3,000 quarantine centres in different blocks of the districts in the State. The State disaster management department too runs over 200 relief camps for them.

Bihar, so far, has reported 582 COVID-19 positive cases with 300 recovered cases and five deaths. Out of total 38 districts, COVID-19 positive cases have been reported from 36 districts. At its seven testing labs, 32,767 tests have been done till May 8.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 11:02:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-70-migrant-workers-jump-quarantine-in-bihar/article31542336.ece

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