Amid reports of migrant workers walking down to their villages due to a 21-days lockdown in the country, SpiceJet has offered services of its aircraft and crew members to the government. Its CMD Ajay Singh said on Friday that they can operate some flights from Delhi and Mumbai to Patna to alleviate the suffering of migrant workers, especially those from Bihar. However, domestic and international passenger flights have been banned till April 14 midnight.
"We have offered our aircraft and crew for any humanitarian mission that the government needs us to fly. We are already flying food, medicines and medical equipment for the government every day (on our freighter aircraft)," Singh told PTI. "We would like to alleviate the suffering of the migrant workers, especially those from Bihar, by flying some flights between Delhi/Mumbai and Patna," he added. India has imposed a 21-day lockdown, which came into force on Wednesday, to check the spread of the virus which has claimed 17 lives and infected over 700 people so far.
On March 26, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced that his government will coordinate with other states and bear the expenses of migrant workers, who might have been stranded there owing to the three-week-long nationwide lockdown. CM Kumar made the announcement at a high-level meeting he chaired here to review the situation arising out of the outbreak of the disease.
Kumar also said that a sum of Rs 100 crore has been released from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund which would be utilized by the disaster management department for setting up shelters for rickshaw pullers and daily-wage earners who might be living away from their homes.
On March 26, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to 18 chief ministers, asking them to provide aid to the workers from her state who are stranded in different regions due to the 21-day lockdown. She requested the respective state administration to provide the people of her state with basic shelter, food, and medical support during this period of crisis. She had also sought a Rs 1,500 crore package from the Centre to supplement the state government's efforts to deal with the situation.
On March 27, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath intervened and then his government started arranging for buses to ferry migrant workers returning from other states. As per reports, the Gautam Buddha Nagar administration provided government transportation to over 600 stranded people on Friday to help them reach home during the lockdown.