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UP targets 5 million MGNREGS jobs as returning migrants numbers swell

Nearly 1.5 million such labourers are likely to enter the state; CM Adityanath hasks officials to treat them with dignity

migrant workers | MGNREGS | MGNREGA funds

Virendra Singh Rawat  |  Lucknow 

Migrants flout social distancing norms as they gather outside a registration camp to travel back to their native places, during the ongoing COVID-19 nationwide lockdown, in Jalandhar. Photo: PTI
Migrants flout social distancing norms as they gather outside a registration camp to travel back to their native places, during the ongoing Covid-19 nationwide lockdown, in Jalandhar. Photo: PTI

In the backdrop of nearly 1.5 million migrant labourers expected to return owing to lockdown, the is planning to ramp up jobs under the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) to 5 million to absorb the influx.

While estimated half a million migrants had returned to UP during lockdown 1.0 in March, nearly as many have also been recently brought back through the institutional channels of trains and buses.

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The homecoming of the remaining stranded migrants continues with average 40 trains arriving in the state daily from states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala etc.

Chairing a meeting here today, chief minister Yogi Adityanath directed the rural development department officials to prepare a roadmap of scaling up MGNREGA jobs from the current tally of 2.38 million to 5 million, so that the unemployed youth in the rural areas and the migrants could be gainfully 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.

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“The CM suggested that self help groups (SHG) could be integrated for making 18 million uniforms and sweaters for the students of the state run schools,” UP additional chief secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi said here this evening.

He said the concerned departments have been asked to prepare muster roles for all the migrants, so that they could be provided with suitable job opportunities.

Adityanath has also issued instructions to treat migrants with human dignity and to ensure their proper medical and quarantining on arrival.

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The state government is energising the different youth wings in the rural areas to upgrade the surveillance mechanism for the migrants to preempt any spread of the disease.

According to UP principal secretary, medical and health Amit Mohan Prasad, a few instances of the migrants being reported covid-19 positive have come to light and given the enormous number of their arrival on a daily basis, the government is not taking any chances.

So far, the UP Police have lodged over 43,000 first information reports (FIR) under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for defying lockdown orders pertaining to the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. More than 123,000 persons were named in these FIRs, of which 91,000 were arrested, Awasthi informed.

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Besides, 610 FIRs were lodged against 778 persons for black marketing and hoarding in the state.

Currently, 485 localities under 318 police station areas have been declared as hotspots in UP. A total of nearly 5 million population live in these pockets.

Meanwhile, the state has distributed cash handout of Rs 1,000 totalling Rs 316 crore to more than 3 million daily wage earners and labourers, who had lost their livelihood following lockdown.

First Published: Tue, May 12 2020. 17:29 IST