Issuing revised standard operating protocol (SOP) for the transport of stranded migrants, the Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday has said that states should make suitable arrangements for sending/ receiving people. The revised protocol was issued by the ministry after Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla directed the states to pro-actively co-ordinate with the Railways to ensure the movement of migrants.
In the revised protocol, the Centre has said that it should be ensured by the sending states and the Ministry of Railways that only asymptomatic passengers board the trains. It has reiterated that social distancing must be followed during the travel and the destination states must ensure health protocols on the arrival of the migrant. It also stated that train schedule, protocols for entry, services in the coaches and ticket booking details must be provided by the Railways, while the state's nodal officers must make necessary arrangements for receiving and sending stranded people to their respective native places.
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issues revised Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) on the movement of stranded workers by trains. pic.twitter.com/OLU4XfGUp6— ANI (@ANI) May 19, 2020
As the migrants continue to walk on foot despite to their native places amid Coronavirus lockdown in the nation, the Centre asked the states and the union territories to operate more special trains in close coordination with the railways. It has said that special attention should be given for transportation of women, children and elderly migrant workers.
The home secretary also said arrangement for resting places, taking into account the requirement of sanitation, food and health, should be made. Highlighting the lack of clarity about the train and buses timing, the Home Secretary said that there should be more clarity about the departure of trains and buses, as lack of clarity coupled with rumours is causing unrest amongst the workers.
After PM Modi had announced the first phase of lockdown, on March 28, thousands of migrant workers were seen thronging the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border at Delhi's Anand Vihar Interstate Bus Terminal in the hope of reaching their homes, defying lockdown and creating a health hazard. Similarly, after PM Modi announced the extension of the lockdown till May 3, on April 14, around 2,000 migrant workers gathered at Bandra station, under the illusion of boarding 'Jansdharan Express' trains to UP, Bengal and Bihar.
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Apart from this several visuals have been seen of thousands of migrants walking across state borders to reach their native homes due to loss of income amid lockdown. The Centre in Lockdown 3.0 arranged special Shramik trains for the transportation of the migrants to their native places. However, many accidents have occurred since the Centre allowed transportation of stranded migrants, and as many as 100 of them have died.