Coronavirus lockdown | Largest facility for migrants in U.P. district awaits first occupant

Jaypee Sports Complex, which can accommodate 2,000 people, is lying vacant two days since it was opened

Updated - April 02, 2020 01:57 am IST

Published - April 01, 2020 11:47 pm IST - Greater Noida

New Delhi, 01/04/2020. To go with Jatin Anand's Article --  A view of the Quarantine Shelter home at the Greater Noida on Wednesday, April 01,  2020.  Photo by R V Moorthy / The Hindu

New Delhi, 01/04/2020. To go with Jatin Anand's Article -- A view of the Quarantine Shelter home at the Greater Noida on Wednesday, April 01, 2020. Photo by R V Moorthy / The Hindu

The Jaypee Sports Complex on the Yamuna Expressway, the largest facility created by the Uttar Pradesh government in Gautam Buddha Nagar to provide shelter to stranded migrant workers, with a capacity to accommodate 2,000 people, has zero inmates so far, The Hindu found during a visit here on Wednesday.

Spread over approximately 12 acres, the facility consists of an estimated 57 large tin sheds – some of which have been designated ‘family sheds’ – lined with wooden panelling to keep a check on the ambient temperature as summer progresses, mats with visibly clean white sheets, sanitation and potable water supply, in addition to separate toilets for men and women.

The only thing seemingly missing at the camp since it was opened on Monday evening, according to officials associated with its creation and upkeep, is the people for whom it exists.

“Before the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) took over this property in February, this facility was utilised to house up to 10,000 construction workers engaged in different projects by the builder concerned. Now, given the necessity to practise social distancing to check the community spread of COVID-19, it has been decided that it will accommodate no more than 2,000 individuals,” an official present at the site said.

“We have been here for the last two and a half days and not even a single migrant worker has turned up. We suspect most of them went to Agra along the banks of the Yamuna on foot or via the currently unused railway lines that criss-cross the area,” said another official.

Former DM’s plan

The former District Magistrate of Gautam Buddha Nagar, B.N. Singh — who was transferred earlier this week following a rebuke by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over the high number of COVID-19 cases in the district comprising Noida and Greater Noida — had issued an order last Sunday under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, designating the area as a shelter home for migrants in the midst of their exodus to their respective hometowns.

After the order, arrangements for as many as 6,050 migrant workers were made at 28 shelters spread across 60-odd kilometres between Noida and Jewar. Most of these, according to sources familiar with the developments in this regard, are either vacant or have “very thin occupancy”.

“YEIDA has made all the necessary arrangements for migrant workers, who were not able to travel to their respective hometowns, at this facility. We look forward to receiving anyone in need of shelter here,” said Navneet Goyal, Officer on Special Duty, Land, YEIDA.

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