New Delhi: Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who has repeatedly assured migrant labourers that they are safe in his state Maharashtra, on Sunday reiterated that he is doing ‘everything possible’ to facilitate their return to their respective native states, adding, however, that trains will not be started as this will lead to a crowd. Also Read - Coronavirus in India Updates: 1975 Fresh Cases, 47 Deaths in 24 Hours; Total Tally at 26,917, Toll 826
Addressing the state through videoconference, the Chief Minister, who also heads his party, the Shiv Sena, said, “I assure the migrant labourers that I am talking to the Centre and whatever is possible will be done soon. One thing is sure that trains are not starting because we don’t want a crowd.” Also Read - Coronavirus in Maharashtra: Police Officers Posted at Uddhav Thackeray's House Test Positive
“Otherwise, the lockdown will be needed to be further extended,” he added. Also Read - 50 Deaths in Last 24 Hours; What is Suspected COVID? Fadnavis Writes to Uddhav Thackeray | 10 Points
On April 14, the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the extension of the nationwide lockdown till May 3, thousands of migrants assembled outside the Bandra railway station after rumours circulated on social media that special trains have been arranged to take them back home.
April 14 was also the scheduled last day of the original 21-day lockdown, which came into effect on March 25, after being announced the previous night by PM Modi.
The plight of migrants, stranded in different states due to the lockdown, has been taken up by a number of Chief Ministers in videoconferences with the PM. The Maharashtra government has repeatedly urged the Centre to arrange special trains to ferry migrant labourers home.
The Prime Minister is scheduled to hold another videoconference with the Chief Ministers tomorrow.
Maharashtra, with 7,628 cases, including 323 deaths, is the worst-affected COVID-19 state in the country. Of these, over 5,000 cases have been reported from Mumbai alone.
Already, there are reports that the Maharashtra government will extend the lockdown in the state beyond May 3.