New Delhi: Amid the 21-day nationwide lockdown in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, scores of migrant workers including women and children huddled together in queues at national capital’s Anand Vihar interstate bus terminal in the hope to catch any bus to return to their hometowns and villages across the border in Uttar Pradesh. Also Read - Coronavirus in Telangana: State Reports First COVID-19 Death; No 'Red Zone' Declared in Hyderabad
Notably, after the sudden announcement of the lockdown by Prime Minister Modi, migrant workers who were left without jobs, shelter and food were spotted walking towards Delhi-Ghaziabad border as the government had suspended all interstate bus and railway services to contain the spread of coronavirus.
However, after the distressing stories of men, women and infants came to light, the Uttar Pradesh and Delhi governments arranged buses to ferry the people home.
Earlier in the day, the Uttar Pradesh government arranged for special buses to transfer migrant workers to their respective hometowns in the state. In a statement, the government said, “Arrangement of 1,000 buses has been done to take the migrant workers to their respective hometowns amid coronavirus lockdown. Transportation Officers, bus drivers and conductors were called by the CM last night to make all the arrangements.”
Besides, the Union Home Ministry also directed state and union territory governments to provide ‘adequate support’ to migrant workers.
Apart from that, the Noida administration also ordered landlords to not collect rent for the coming month.
“It has come to our notice that several laborers are being asked for rent which is forcing them to move out and travel back to their homes. In such a case, the possibility of the infection spreading is higher. We need to assure them the security of a house. The landlords are instructed to not collect rent for one month from any tenant labourer,” said BN Singh, DM Gautam Buddh Nagar.
Meanwhile, Opposition leaders have lambasted the central government for migrant workers’plight. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted a video, in which migrant workers were seen queuing up for transport. The video was reportedly shot at Kaushambi on the Delhi-UP border.
“Out of work and facing an uncertain future, millions of our brothers & sisters across India are struggling to find their way back home. It’s shameful that we’ve allowed any Indian citizen to be treated this way & that the Govt had no contingency plans in place for this exodus,” the Congress leader tweeted.