New Delhi: The Centre asked state governments and Union Territory administrations Sunday to effectively seal state and district borders to stop movements of migrant workers during lockdown, officials said.
During a video conference with Chief Secretaries and DGPs, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla asked them to ensure that there is no movement of people across cities or on highways as the lockdown continues.
“There has been movement of migrant workers in some parts of the country. Directions were issued that district and state borders should be effectively sealed,” a government official said. States were also directed to ensure there is no movement of people across cities or on highways. Only movement of goods should be allowed, added the official.
District Magistrates and SPs should be made personally responsible for implementation of these directions, the official informed.
Adequate arrangements for food and shelter of poor and needy people including migrant labourers be made at the place of their work, the official further said.
Meanwhile a day after thousands of migrant workers thronged Anand Vihar bus terminus on the Delhi-UP border to go back to their villages, hundreds attempted to leave again Sunday but were blocked by police barricades some distance from the bus station.
“I came here in the morning and have been waiting for police to let us go ahead, but it seems like they would not allow us,” said Joginder Singh, 40, a fruit merchant who came to Anand Vihar terminus with his family in the morning to catch a bus for his hometown Moradabad.
“They are beating people who try to move further. I am here with my wife and 11-year-old son and we can’t afford to be beaten up by police. Now we have only one option – go back to our home in Shahdara’s Vishwas Nagar area,” Singh said.
Many people were seen trying to walk on the railway track at Anand Vihar to go their home towns in Uttar Pradesh.
Since the nationwide lockdown was announced March 24 to deal with the coronavirus epidemic, all business and economic activity has come to a virtual standstill, leaving migrant workers here in the national capital with no work. Most of them are daily wage earners who live a hand to mouth existence in big cities, and cannot afford to pay rent or buy food unless they earn.
Mohammad Anwar (30), who works in a boutique, said he came to Delhi two weeks ago from Sitamarhi in Bihar and had no idea that the situation will turn like this.
“I am alone here in the national capital. My parents live in Sitamarhi. Police are not allowing us to catch a bus. My health is not well and I can’t walk to Sitamarhi. I have no other option and will go back to my room in east Delhi’s Gandhi Nagar area,” Anwar said.
The distance between Delhi to Sitamarhi is 950 kilometers, which would take around more than a week to cover on foot.