COVID-19 lockdown: Centre asks states to set up relief camps for migrant workers

Migrant workers
Migrant workers and their family members walk to their villages from Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown to prevent the spreading of COVID-19. Photo: AFP via PTI

New Delhi: With tens of thousands of migrant workers walking down to their homes far way amid the coronavirus lockdown, the government on Saturday directed states and union territories to immediately set up relief camps for them and carry out health check-ups.

Scenes of migrant workers walking and many trying to cram into buses to reach their destination emerged from several parts of the country as the countrywide lockdown entered the fourth day.

With lakhs of these workers stranded on highways and inter-state bus terminus, the government stepped in and asked states and union territories to immediately set up relief camps for migrant workers and others who are returning to their home states or trying to do so during the nationwide lockdown period.

Home Minister Amit Shah said the central government has committed all support to migrant workers during the 21-day lockdown announced to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The Centre also asked state governments and union territory administrations to utilise state disaster response funds, to which Rs 29,000 crore has been allocated for the next fiscal, for providing food and shelter to migrant workers hit by the lockdown.

Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs Punya Salila Srivastava said the government has also asked the states and union territories to set up camps for migrant workers fleeing cities and carry out their health check-ups.

The Uttar Pradesh government announced that it has arranged 1,000 buses to ferry migrant labourers stranded in the border districts.