Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has urged the Central government to ply special non-stop trains for stranded migrants and labourers to get back home. Vijayan criticised the Centre's order to transport stranded persons by buses and termed it as 'impractical.' The Kerala CM highlighted that there are around 3.6 lakh migrant workers in 20,826 camps across the state, hence, it would not be practical to ply buses for such a large number of people.
Apart from this, Vijayan also stated that there is a high risk of spread of the disease if they travel by buses. He added that Chief Secretary Tom Jose has also written to the Union Home Minister about the same.
Earlier on Wednesday, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot welcomed the Home Ministry's move to permit movement of stranded labourers across the country allowing them to return back to their homes. Taking to Twitter, Gehlot informed that he has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcoming the order issued by the MHA on Wednesday. However, he stated that until the Centre does not permit trains to operate, the labourers cannot return home keeping the long-distance and large number of stranded individuals in mind.
The Chief Minister has appealed to the Prime Minister to run special trains amid the lockdown as it would be a 'practical solution for the workers' to return home safely. He requested that for the safe movement of millions of migrants, the Government of India should start operating special trains without any delay.
In a big development on Wednesday, the Ministry of Home Affairs permitted the inter-state movement of stranded persons in the country. This move will help migrant workers, students, pilgrims, tourists who have been stranded in different parts of India to return to their home state. While buses will be used for the transportation of the persons, they will be allowed to proceed only after being medically screened.
Moreover, they will again be tested for COVID-19 at their destination and kept in home quarantine or sent to an institutional quarantine facility as per the assessment. Currently, there are 31,787 confirmed novel coronavirus cases in India out of which 7,797 persons have recovered while 1008 casualties have been reported.
As per the guidelines issued by the MHA, all state governments have been directed to designate nodal officers and develop standard protocols for receiving and sending such stranded persons. The nodal authorities shall register the stranded persons within their state or Union Territory. The sending and receiving state must consult each other when a group of stranded person seeks to move from one state to another state and mutually agree to movement by road.