BREAKING NEWS

Stranded migrant workers, students can go home. But, with some rules!

A month after millions of people, mostly migrant workers were stranded without work in different parts of the country, the Union home ministry has finally allowed states to repatriate them to their respective states.
 
The central government has, however, so far refused to run special trains to take them home as demanded by some states such as Maharashtra. They would have to travel in buses.
 
The only condition that the home ministry has imposed for such inter-state travel is that the government of states, from where these people begin the journey and the government in the destination state, should clear the trip.
 
Several states such as Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh had already started bringing back people from other places though the central guidelines till this evening did not permit such travel. This had put chief ministers of states such as Bihar under immense pressure.
 
Nitish Kumar, who has been battered by the opposition in his state for sticking to the rulebook, had insisted that he would not take any step that violated the central guidelines and had asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to order the home ministry to set the ground rules for this trip. Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik had made the same request at last week’s interaction of chief ministers with PM Modi.
 
On arrival at their destination, “such persons would be assessed by the local health authorities, and kept in home quarantine, unless the assessment requires keeping the persons in institutional quarantine. They would be kept under watch with periodic health check-ups. For this purpose, such persons may be encouraged to use the Aarogya Setu app through which their health status can be monitored,” the home ministry’s guidelines said.
 
As HT reported earlier in the day, disquiet and anger was simmering in the shelter homes where the workers have been located since the end of March.
Sometimes, it spilled over to the streets. As it happened in Gujarat’s Surat this week when migrant workers clashed with police personnel.
 
Tuesday’s violence was the third incident reported from Surat involving out-of-work migrant workers since the lockdown was imposed last month to check the Covid-19 spread.
 
There have been numerous instances of migrant workers walking hundreds of kilometres to reach home. Some succeeded. 
 
One reason the Centre had been reluctant to let migrant workers head back home in a hurry is that the absence of workforce in states such as Maharashtra, Punjab and Haryana would come in the way of industrial units getting started again.

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