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MHA issues advisory urging states, UTs to provide food, shelter to migrant labourers to stop mass exodus amid coronavirus lockdown

While ensuring the supply of essential goods and services, States/UTs are being repeatedly directed to enforce the lockdown strictly and take action against violators under various provisions of law.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday asked state governments and UTs to prevent a mass exodus of students, migrant agriculture labourers, industrial workers and unorganised sector employees from their workplaces to hometowns amid the ongoing 21-day nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of Wuhan Coronavirus.

In an advisory to all states and Union territories, the MHA said they should also make arrangements for uninterrupted supply of essential commodities to hotels, working women hostels etc so that they continue to live in existing facilities.

The advisory issued by MHA

The states and UTs have also been advised to make these vulnerable groups aware of measures taken by the government, including the provision of free food grains and other essential items through PDS, and streamline the distribution system. This would help prevent avoidable movement of such people, according to the advisory.

The home ministry has also advised the states and UTs to ensure that hotels, rented accommodations, hostels etc., continue to remain functional and delivery of essential items is streamlined, so that students, working women hostel inmates etc., are allowed to continue in existing facilities observing precautions.

While ensuring the supply of essential goods and services, States/UTs are being repeatedly directed to enforce the lockdown strictly and take action against violators under various provisions of law. This is imperative to contain the spread of COVID-19, said the MHA.

The MHA guideline was issued after several cities and states had witnessed a mass exodus of migrant labours to their native places before and after the lockdown was announced. The govt wants to ensure that such people stay in the places where they are currently located, so that they do not spread the virus to more places in case of them are infected.

A PIL was filed in the Supreme Court today, seeking food, water, shelter, medical aid and ‘urgent indulgence to the plight of migrant workers and their families, including women, kids, elders and divyangs, who are walking on foot to their villages. The petition was filed by the apex court lawyer Alakh Alok Srivastava.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown, which began on the intervening night of March 24 and March 25, to prevent the Wuhan coronavirus from spreading any further.

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