As several migrant workers made their way back to the state after the Centre eased COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday directed the Health Department to take measures to scale up the State’s testing capacity up to 15,000 per day.
The direction was given during the review meeting on COVID-19 situation in the state with senior officials, which was chaired by Naveen Patnaik through video conferencing. In view of the long-distance journey and various other challenges like food, water, sunstroke, and accidents, the state government has decided that the migrants from Surat will be brought back by trains.
"No permission to travel from Surat to Odisha by buses," Chief Minister Patnaik said.
With regards to normalising activities in the green zone, CM Patnaik said that farming activities, industrial work and transportation will be allowed in the state. He further asked officials to implement a policy for resolving the problems faced by the industries due to lockdown. Additionally, loans for farmers and SHGs will be increased, as per the Chief Minister’s direction. He asked officials to ensure the easy availability of seeds and other essentials to farmers ahead of the Kharif season.
"Give special attention to the districts such as Ganjam, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore, Bolangir, and Jajpur which have a large number of migrants," said Naveen Patnaik.
As of May 2, several migrant workers returned from Gujarat by specially arranged buses, while a group of students also came back to Odisha from Kota in Rajasthan. A special train carrying around 1200 people is also on its way to Odisha from Kerala, officials said.
The Odias stranded across the country have to register their names with Aadhaar and mobile phone numbers in a portal launched by Odisha government. On their arrival in the state, the returnees will have to undergo mandatory quarantine in Odisha.
The state government has opened a large number of temporary medical camps and quarantine centres in all the 6,798-gram panchayats and over 100 urban local bodies to keep the returnees in quarantine before allowing them to go to their houses.
(With inputs from agencies)