Other States

Nitish upset with States sending back migrants

‘Ferrying them in buses will defeat the very purpose of lockdown’

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday disapproved of some States sending back scores of migrant workers to Bihar in buses.

“The very purpose of the lockdown will be defeated if thousands of migrants are sent to Bihar by buses. My government has already asked the Bihar Resident Commissioner in New Delhi to coordinate with various State governments and reimburse the costs of their food and stay,” he told a news channel.

The U.P. and Delhi governments have arranged hundreds of buses for migrant workers to go home.

“COVID-19 will spread if they are ferried together in buses,” Mr. Kumar said. “It is better to organise camps locally. The State government will reimburse the costs of these camps,” the Chief Minister said.

Mr. Kumar recently announced that ₹100 crore would be released from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for the food and shelter of Bihar workers stranded in other States. Several MLAs and MPs have announced donations to the State government to deal with the situation.

The Bihar government on Friday created a Corona Eradication Fund and said the planning and development department would deduct a minimum of ₹50 lakh from the funds under the MLA and MLC Local Area Development Scheme. The health department would open a separate bank account for the CEF, and the amount would be utilised for buying medicines, masks, kits and other equipment, a senior official told The Hindu.

Migrants from Delhi, Jaipur, Gurugram, Noida and other places have been reaching different parts of Bihar with their families and friends, walking hundreds of miles, with very little food, their faces covered with masks. “Many of them are still on their way and are held up at different places... We set off early so we reached here after four days from Jamuna Vihar in Delhi where we worked as daily wagers... We walked 1,000 km, some time on an empty stomach,” Bhai Permanand and his three friends said at Patna Bypass Road. They are returning to their villages in Supaul and Saharsha. They were speaking to a news channel on Friday night.

Bihar has so far reported 10 positive cases, with one death. The victim had travelled from Qatar and had a kidney ailment. His wife and nephew were also found infected. The compounder of the private hospital where he had been admitted first was also found infected with the novel coronavirus.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 6:31:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/nitish-upset-with-states-sending-back-migrants/article31195426.ece

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