States also need to ensure that students and working women from other states are allowed to continue in their existing accommodation

The home ministry on Friday asked state governments to provide adequate support to migrant labourers and workers from the unorganised sector and stop their exodus to their hometowns in the wake of the nationwide lockdown.

Home secretary Ajay Bhalla has written to all states and Union Territories asking them "to take immediate steps to provide adequate support, including food and shelter, to migrant agricultural labourers, industrial workers and other unorganized sector workers during the 21-day Nationwide COVID-19 lockdown."

States have also been advised to take steps to ensure that students and working women from other states are allowed to continue in their existing accommodation.

The advisory said "in order to mitigate the situation for unorganized sector workers, particularly stranded migrant workers, States/UTs need to explore measures by involving various agencies, including NGOs, to provide food and shelter with basic amenities like clean drinking water, sanitation etc."

With scores of migrants workers making their way on foot to their hometowns, the ministry has asked state government to make vulnerable groups aware of the measures taken by the government "including 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 ministry has issued standard operating procedures for all departments, including the supply-chain network, and advised "States/ UTs need 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, while observing precautions."

"While ensuring 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," the home secretary reiterated in his advisory.

Courtesy: LiveMint