District authorities should approach the Ministry of Railways to run trains where required, state governments have been advised

Operation of more special trains and increasing the number of buses are part of a series of measures that states should implement for the smooth transport of migrant workers, the central government said on Tuesday.

In a communication to states, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs pointed out that the fear of contracting Covid-19 and apprehension about loss of livelihood were the main factors driving the movement of stranded workers towards their homes.

In a letter to Chief Secretaries of all states, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that district authorities should be directed to approach the Ministry of Railways to run trains where required so that migrant workers do not resort to walking on roads or railway tracks to reach their destination.

Noting that ministry officials were already assisting nodal officers of the state governments and the Ministry of Railways in movement of stranded labour, the Ministry of Home Affairs has said they would be happy to facilitate the process further.

State governments have also been asked to allow the buses carrying migrants at respective inter-state borders.

Other steps that have been advised include arranging designated rest places with adequate facilities for sanitation, food and healthcare, by the state administrations on routes where migrants are known to be already travelling on foot.

The district authorities should arrange transport to take such people to these rest places as well as railway stations and bus terminals, said an official statement quoting the Union Home Secretary’s communication to the state governments.

Other measures suggested include:

  • More clarity about departure of trains/ buses, as lack of clarity coupled with rumours caused unrest amongst the workers.

  • Special attention to the specific requirements of women, children and elderly amongst the migrant workers.

  • District Authorities may involve NGO representatives at rest places etc, to alleviate the notion of long quarantine at rest places. Workers may also be encouraged to remain at places where they are.

  • Enlisting the migrants with their addresses and contact numbers. This may be helpful in contact tracing in due course.

IVD Bureau