Centre allows stranded people to return home

Over a month after the lockdown left thousands of migrant workers stranded in bigger cities and towns without work, the Centre on Wednesday permitted their movement back to their hometowns and villages. In an official notification issued by the Home Ministry, migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and others stranded in different places were allowed to move by road following standard protocol and on mutually agreed terms between two state governments.

The move comes two days after the Supreme Court questioned the Centre about steps being taken to ensure the return of stranded migrant workers. The top court had asked the Centre to submit its reply within a week. The order was based on a plea about the plight of stranded migrant labourers across the country, who were seen walking back vast distances to reach their hometowns and villages.

In its order, the Home Ministry asked the states to appoint nodal authorities and develop standard protocols for the movement of stranded people and to begin by registering them in their states. “In case a group of stranded persons wish to move between one state and another, the sending and receiving states may consult each other and mutually agree to the movement by road… The moving person(s) would be screened and those found asymptomatic would be allowed to proceed,” the notification read.

States on the transit route have been directed to allow passage for such vehicles. Buses have been allowed for the interstate movement with instructions to sanitise them and follow social distancing norms in seating.

After arriving at their destination, the migrant workers, students, tourists or pilgrims have to be assessed by the local health authorities and kept either in home quarantine or institutional quarantine depending on the requirement. The relocated persons will remain under surveillance with periodic health examinations.

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