Taking forward the agenda of bringing back their migrant labourers stuck in other states following lockdown, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have mutually exchanged 6,600 of their stranded labourers to mark Labour Day.
While, labourers from UP, totalling 5,259 stuck and in MP, were brought back aboard 155 buses, about 1,341 stranded labourers belonging to MP returned to their native state from UP on board 50 buses.
Now, the Adityanath government is trying to ferry back UP labourers stranded in Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.
“The estimated number of labourers currently stuck in Rajasthan and Uttarakhand following lockdown is 6,500 and 1,500 respectively,” UP additional chief secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi told the media here this evening.
Meanwhile, the UP chief minister has written to his counterparts in other states seeking cooperation in bringing back these labourers. The letters have been sent to the CMs of Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi and Rajasthan.
“The CM has urged his counterparts to facilitate speedier collection of the details of our labourers in their states, so that their phase wise return could be arranged at the earliest,” Awasthi informed.
Last week, the state government had deployed over 80 UP State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) buses to facilitate the return of more than 12,000 of labourers stranded in Haryana.
All the labourers arriving in UP are required to serve a 14-day quarantine in the respective states. On their arrival, they are again screened and lodged in temporary shelter homes in their districts to serve another 14-day quarantine.
Meanwhile, the state government is taking steps to increase the capacity of quarantine centres to accommodate a million people, and to convert vacant college premises as temporary quarantine centres in the districts.
The state had recently brought back about 11,500 students stranded in Kota, Rajasthan. More than 15,000 students stuck in Prayagraj were taken to their respective districts in UP.
Besides, the state has sealed the state borders to check any unauthorised entry of labourers in the coming days in the backdrop of the Centre allowing for institutional interstate movement of stranded labourers.
While, nearly half a million labourers are estimated to have already returned to UP following the lockdown in March, the Adityanath government has projected that almost a million labourers of UP origin could return over the next 1-2 months.
Chairing a review meeting, the CM asked officials to promote digital banking and payment systems. “The postal department has clocked the highest digital payments in UP during the current lockdown,” Awasthi claimed.
UP has reported 2,281 coronavirus cases across 63 districts, of which 555 have been discharged, while 41 persons have succumbed to the disease, leaving 1,685 active cases. The state is increasing pool testing to cover more people.