Jaipur, May 13, 2020.
The pandemic has bought many underlying issues to the fore. One of them being the stability of migrant labourers, their travel, food and lodging. As trains are already running to make them reach home safely, a lot of them have taken the path on foot. To make sure everyone reaches home safe and none of them is left unchecked or unscreened, the Ashok Gehlot led Rajasthan Government has now started “No To On Foot Movement”.
The officials concerned are directed to pick any migrant who has taken the road on foot and board him/her on the buses deployed. The Rajasthan Government is keeping a tab on detailed arrangements and providing them shelter, food and water. Most of these migrants were spotted on the highways of Jaipur, Dausa and Bharatpur and in the first phase, 33 buses have moved so far and have helped over 1500 labourers to reach at different state boarders who were walking their way home. All the passengers are being given mineral water bottles, food packets before boarding the transport.
“A planned strategy is always important for the movement of labourers. We have made specific arrangements for their transport and I request them to not leave without adhering guidelines as that could pose a threat. With each passing day, we are coming with several solutions like these buses have been deployed to pick them up, said Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot
Apart from deploying buses, the Rajasthan Government, after strict directives from Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, has also set up temporary shelters in several schools of Bhusavar, Vair, Dehra Mod, Lulhara for the buses coming from Jaipur. On the other hand, the buses coming in from Dausa have temporary camps at Behnera, Barso, Mai Gujar. These temporary shelters will cater the migrant labourers till the time further arguments are not made for their transport. “No one will be allowed to go on foot and remain stranded. Feeding them and providing them shelter is our responsibility and we are doing the best we can. The on foot movement of migrants also poses a threat towards community spread so it is important that everyone is checked before boarding the bus. The teams are taking care of screenings, food & water and if necessary, shelter is also being arranged by us,” said Subodh Agrawal, Additional Chief Secretary.
Several district collectors, RSRTC and other officials of SDM level are monitoring the situation on ground and are in talks with the labourers on a one to one basis. “We are being given water, food and they picked us on the way. The focus of officials is on us and we are happy that essentials are provided to us in a timely manner now. We are being screened before boarding and given food packets,” said a labourer while boarding the bus near Dausa. “All the teams are following strict orders of social distancing and the buses are also not overcrowded. Masks are mandatory for them along with proper hygiene,” said SDM, Mahwa.