States asked to seal borders to stop exodus of migrant workers

Migrant labourers
Migrant workers along with their family members wait to board buses to their respective villages amid a nationwide lockdown on Sunday. Photo: PTI
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New Delhi: The Centre on Sunday asked state governments and Union Territory administrations to effectively seal state and district borders to stop movements of migrant workers during lockdown, officials said.

During a video conference with Chief Secretaries and DGPs, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla asked them to ensure that there is no movement of people across cities or on highways as the lockdown continues.

"There has been movement of migrant workers in some parts of the country. Directions were issued that district and state borders should be effectively sealed," a government official said.

States were directed to ensure there is no movement of people across cities or on highways. Only movement of goods should be allowed.

District Magistrates and SPs should be made personally responsible for implementation of these directions, the official said.

Adequate arrangements for food and shelter of poor and needy people including migrant labourers be made at the place of their work, the official said.

"Only movement of goods should be allowed. District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police should be made personally responsible for implementation of these directions which have been issued under the Disaster Management Act," a government statement said.

It has been advised that adequate arrangements for food and shelter of poor and needy people, including migrant labourers be made at the place of their work.

The Centre had on Saturday issued orders for use of "SDRF (State Disaster Relief Funds) for the purpose".

Referring that "sufficient funds are available with states in the SDRF head, the Cabinet Secretary advised states to ensure timely payment of wages to labourers at their place of work during the 21-day "period of lockdown without any cut".

It was ordered that house rent should not be demanded from the labourers for this period and action should be taken against those who are asking labourers or students to vacate the premises.

"Those who have violated the lockdown and travelled during the period of lockdown will be subject to a minimum of 14 days of quarantine in government quarantine facilities. Detailed instructions on monitoring of such persons during quarantine have been issued to states," Cabinet Secretary instructed.

"It was impressed upon all the States that three weeks of strict enforcement is essential to contain the spread of coronavirus. This is in the interest of everyone."

It was noted that, by and large, there has been effective implementation of guidelines across all states and Union Territories (UTs). "Essential supplies have also been maintained. Situation is being monitored round the clock and necessary measures are being taken as required."

(With inputs from PTI and IANS.)

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