NOW Bureau Lucknow, 9 May
With the daily arrival of stranded labourers by train touching almost 30,000, the Uttar Pradesh government has deployed a fleet of 10,000 roadways buses to ferry the migrants to their native districts across the state.
Over the past few days, 69 trains, mainly from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Punjab etc carrying more than 75,000 labourers have arrived at different places in UP with 27 more trains expected to arrive. Besides, the government has approved 66 additional ‘Shramik Special’ trains from other states to bring back UP migrants, and prepared 40 train terminals to receive them.
“We have arranged for 10,000 roadways buses at the local levels, so that the incoming labourers are sent to their respective places after proper screening on arrival,” UP additional chief secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi told the media here on Friday evening.
He informed the state was targetting to make arrangements for 35-40 special trains on a daily basis to expedite the evacuation of labourers stuck in other states following covid-19 lockdown. In fact, the state has also urged the Maharashtra government to dispatch at least 10 trains daily to accelerate the process of evacuation.
“The plying of so many trains and deployment of 10,000 buses in the largest exercise of its kind in India during lockdown,” he claimed.
He said before the lockdown 1.0 was announced, 50,000 to 60,000 migrant labourers had already returned to the state. Since then, almost 0.6 million labourers have returned to UP, mainly from Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan etc, both on their own and through the recent institutional channels.
Meanwhile, chairing a review meeting, chief minister Yogi Adityanath urged the stranded labourers not to venture on foot or resort to unauthorised mediums in their desperation to return to UP for their own safety.
He also made a general appeal for according respectable treatment to the incoming labourers and asked officials to arrange for their speedy and safe homecoming. They will be sent to the mandatory 21 day home quarantine on arrival.
The Adityanath government has planned to evacuate about 45,000 stranded workers on a daily basis by trains or buses. In the past few days, more than 100,000 labourers and students stuck in other states were brought back to UP.
Awasthi said the first international flight from Sharjah carrying about 200 Indians will arrive at the Lucknow airport on Saturday evening. Such passenger will be housed in quarantine centres.
The government is planning to absorb inbound labourers for employment in different verticals, including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), one district, one product (ODOP) scheme, dairy, cow rearing/shelter, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS), plant nurseries etc.