It has been a month since the migrant workers’ exodus in Delhi, that rocked the nation and, in principle, was a detriment to the core purpose of the nationwide lockdown imposed due to the global Coronavirus pandemic.
Now, a month later, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has decreed that interstate travel for migrant labourers, stranded students and tourists would be permitted, albeit under regulation of state authorities.
MHA, in their official communication, declared that it will allow interstate travel, but there would be conditions applicable.
- For starters, unlike the demand by certain states, there will not be any special trains for this; the travel will have to be via buses, which will have to be properly sanitised at regular intervals, and will maintain social distancing protocols.
- The travel will only be permitted for healthy individuals who do not exhibit any symptoms, and not those suffering from COVID-19. To ensure this, there will be health check-ups on state borders.
- The travel of these people has to be cleared and regulated by the state where they begin their journey and the destination state.
Furthermore, these travellers will have to be placed under home quarantine and regularly monitored. They have also been encouraged to download the Aarogya Setu app to facilitate this process.
As per official government data, more than five million migrant workers have been stranded over this all-India lockdown, and will need to be repatriated to their respective states. This decision comes after the Delhi and Mumbai incidents.
In the latter, a huge crowd of migrant workers had gathered outside Bandra railway station in Mumbai, on April 14, when the lockdown was originally supposed to be lifted. While they claimed that they had gathered to board trains to go home, there were many news reports that questioned if there was a political motive behind this gathering.
Several states like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and others, have already begun sending buses to bring back stranded students. On Wednesday, 5 buses from Maharashtra departed to bring back students from Kota.