Other States

Coronavirus | Odisha concerned over entry of people without prior information

Migrant workers leaving for Odisha on their bicycles at Gummidipoondi highway. File.

Migrant workers leaving for Odisha on their bicycles at Gummidipoondi highway. File.   | Photo Credit: M_Karunakaran

State government urges citizens to inform authorities on the arrival of returnees

The Odisha government on Sunday urged citizens to inform authorities about the arrival of returnees as it expected the “unannounced” return of a large number of Odia people to the State.

Full coverage on coronavirus

“Due to lockdowns, people stuck outside were returning to the State in pre-approved transport systems such as trains and flights. They were being sent to their villages in a controlled manner after checking at border check-posts, train stations and airports. The government used to obtain advance information about them. Subsequently, quarantine facilities were being provided,” said Pradeep Kumar Jena, Special Relief Commissioner, here.

The regulations have since changed and most returnees are arriving by special trains. The Centre has also proposed to throw air travel open from Monday, and resume general train services in the coming weeks.

“There is a huge possibility of people entering Odisha without prior information. From now on, we may face problems in providing systematic and controlled quarantine. So people are requested to inform the government of anyone returning home without information,” Mr. Jena urged.

Coronavirus, May 24 updates | State Helpline numbers for COVID-19

‘Without prior consent’

He added, “Earlier, Shramik Special trains were being sent to our State after obtaining our consent. The Indian Railways used to give detail information about people travelling by special trains, after which we used to make elaborate plans for taking people from trains to quarantine centres. Now, the system is done away with and special trains can arrive without the prior consent of the receiving State.”

“It is observed that a large number of trains are arriving in the State unannounced. It will not be easy to provide them [passengers on these trains] quarantine facilities,” he said.

Also read: Coronavirus lockdown: Odisha migrants face a double whammy on journey back home

On Saturday night, 12 Shramik Special train left Telangana for Odisha. The Telangana government has not intimated Odisha of these trains. The Indian Railways estimates about 20,000 people will arrive in Odisha, which has caught the State government unprepared.

Train fares of people returning to the State without prior information may not be reimbursed, Mr. Jena warned.

“Although there has been an increase in the number of COVID-19 positive cases, it is not a matter of concern. The situation is under control. It is possible because we have been efficiently able to quarantine people returning from outside,” Mr. Jena said, adding that no community spread had taken place in the State.

Related Topics
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 6, 2020 5:25:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/covid-19-odisha-changes-quarantine-policy-due-to-unannounced-return-of-people/article31663280.ece

Next Story