Amidst the decision of the Uttar Pradesh and Delhi governments to send migrant labourers from Bihar to their native place on special buses, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has opposed the move citing the threat of coronavirus' spread in the state.
Speaking to Republic TV over the phone, Kumar said, "No buses should be allowed to carry any passenger from any state, else COVID-19 will spread and it will be a complete violation of lockdown. People should remain where they are and the respective state governments should make arrangements for their stay and food. Else people will congregate in large numbers to get back to their native place and create a law and order situation."
The JDU chief also said that he has spoken with many of his counterparts in other states and suggested the building of camps locally to house these migrant workers instead of sending them back. "The (Bihar) state government will reimburse the costs of these camps. This is a period of crisis and the idea behind lockdown is to break the chain of the virus from spreading further."
The Delhi and UP governments have announced the arrangement of 100 to 200 buses for migrant labourers to return home after heart-wrenching pictures and videos of them walking on national highways carrying their bags and family went viral on social media. After the 21 -day lockdown was announced, migrant labourers, facing uncertainty over food and accommodation, started fleeing cities like Delhi, Noida and Kolkata to their respective states especially Bihar and UP.
Keeping in mind the threat of the spread of COVID-19 at the community level, CM Nitish Kumar had earlier opposed running special trains, carrying migrant passengers from other states to Bihar and had also requested to cancel all domestic flights. So far, Bihar has reported nine cases of COVID-19 positive cases. Relief camps are already operational in all 38 districts of Bihar and the CM has sanctioned Rs 100 crore for testing kits and arrangement of food and shelter in those camps.