Further relaxing the nationwide lockdown, the union home ministry today allowed the states to facilitate the movement of people stranded in various states, including migrant labours. This move will allow students, migrant workers, tourists etc to go to their homes from their current locations.
The order issued by the home ministry has issued guidelines for movement of migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students who are stranded at different places due to the lockdown. The centre has asked the states and union territories to designate nodal authorities and develop standard protocols for sending and receiving such persons. The movement of people will happen only by road.
Persons willing to move will be screened and only those having no symptoms will be allowed to move. Both the sending and receiving states will have to coordinate on the movement, and the states that fall in the route will allow the transit of such buses. On arrival at the destination, the persons will be again screened and they will be kept in home quarantine if found asymptomatic. They may also be kept in institutional quarantine, if that is felt necessary after health checkup.
This move will bring a huge relief for lakhs of people who are stranded in different states due to the lockdown. As migrant workers have no work, and students have no classes to attend, all of them want to go home to be with families. Several incidents of migrants violating lockdown and coming out in large numbers demanding to be sent back to their home states have also happened in various states lie Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi etc. Earlier some states had evacuated small number of people stranded outside their states. But now after the MHA order, large scale evacuation of people to their home states will be possible.
The nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of Coronavirus was imposed from 25th March, which was to expire on 14th April. But the lockdown was extended and now it is scheduled to end on 3rd March.
Today’s decision just four days ahead of the lockdown ends gives a hint that the lockdown will not be lifted completely after 3rd May. Even if limited relaxations are granted in green zones, at least train, flight and inter-state bus transit will most probably remain prohibited.