Amid the interstate exodus of stranded labourers by trains following the Covid-19 lockdown, Gujarat and Maharashtra have accounted for the maximum flight of migrants to Uttar Pradesh so far.
Of the influx of more than 400,000 migrant labourers in UP, Gujarat and Maharashtra have seen the exodus of about 200,000 and 50,000 labourers to the state, respectively, by ‘Shramik Special’ trains.
Gujarat also accounted for the departure of maximum 156 trains carrying UP migrants, followed by Maharashtra 38; thus the two states accounted for more than 60 per cent of the 268 trains reaching UP.
So far, 50 trains ferrying 60,000 labourers have also arrived from Punjab, while some of these trains have also originated from Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu etc, UP additional chief secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi said in Lucknow on Wednesday. He said the state topped the chart in terms of plying of maximum number of special trains and also the labourers' count.
“Over the past few days, more than 400,000 migrant labourers have returned to UP by trains and buses, and the process continues to evacuate the remaining people,” he said adding the state was now looking to arrange special trains to bring workers from Goa and Tripura as well.
Awasthi reiterated that Chief Minister Adityanath had issued directives to treat these migrants with full dignity and has sought strict action in cases of misbehaviour.
The state has urged migrant workers not to venture on foot, or use unauthorised means in their desperation to return for their own sake, and to come back through institutional channels only.
With a total 1.5 million migrant labourers expected to return, the UP government is planning to increase the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) jobs to 5 million to absorb the returning migrants.
Yesterday, Adityanath had asked the rural development department to prepare a roadmap for scaling up MGNREGA jobs from the current tally of 2.38 million to 5 million, so that unemployed youth in rural areas and migrants could be absorbed therein.
Besides, he asked officials to explore avenues for promoting rural based industries, including floriculture, incense sticks units etc, apart from accelerating resumption of commercial activities for employment and revenue generation.
So far, the UP Police has lodged nearly 48,000 first information reports (FIR) under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for defying lockdown orders pertaining to the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.
Meanwhile, the CM has asked for censuring fake news circulating on social media. So far, 923 instances of fake news have come to light.
The state government has distributed ex gratia cash handout of Rs 1,000 totalling Rs 316 crore to almost 3.2 million daily wage earners and labourers, who had lost their livelihood following the lockdown.