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Migrant workers to be stopped, quarantined at borders: Centre

Scrambling home:Migrant workers boarding a truck to Palwal, Haryana, on the Kondli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway.Ashok Kumar

Scrambling home:Migrant workers boarding a truck to Palwal, Haryana, on the Kondli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway.Ashok Kumar  

Provide shelters, enforce 14-day isolation, Home Ministry order tells States, UTs

Terming the movement of migrant workers to reach their home towns a violation of the lockdown measures on maintaining social distance, the Union Home Ministry on Sunday directed State and Union Territory (UT) governments to provide temporary shelters, food and other essentials to the stranded poor and needy.

The migrant workers who have moved out of their work spots must be quarantined in the nearest shelter after proper screening for a minimum period of 14 days as per standard health protocol, the order added.

In another statement, the Centre said the States and UTs had been asked to strictly enforce the 21-day lockdown by prohibiting movement of people across cities and highways. Directions have been given to seal the district and State borders and allow only the movement of goods.

Adequate arrangements for food and shelter of the poor and needy, including migrant labourers, should also be made at the place of their work, for which the use of the State Disaster Response Fund has already been authorised.

“Sufficient funds are available with States in this head,” said the statement.

Essentials exempted

In a separate letter to the Chief Secretaries of all States, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said the transportation of all goods, without distinction of essential and non-essential, has been allowed. He clarified that groceries include hygiene products such as hand washes, soaps, disinfectants, apart from battery cells, chargers and other items of daily use.

The entire milk supply and newspaper delivery chains have also been allowed, he said.

In order to mitigate the economic hardship of migrants, the Ministry told the State and UT governments to ensure that all employers, including industrialists and shop owners, pay wages without deduction at workplaces, on the due date and for the period their commercial establishments remain closed during the lockdown.

Landlords have been directed not to demand one month’s rent from workers, including migrant workers.

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