Uttar Pradesh's BJP government on Monday accepted Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's offer to organise 1,000 buses for ferrying the incoming migrants--a rare time the political rivals will cooperate.
Priyanka on Saturday wrote to UP chief minister Adityanath, seeking his government's permission to run buses from Ghaziabad and Noida borders to migrant workers' home districts during a national lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
Acknowledging Vadra’s letter, UP additional chief secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi has formally sought the details of the drivers and conductors of these buses, so that they could be deployed for the intrastate movement of labourers.
Priyanka had said tens of thousands of migrants are coming back following lockdown, yet despite all the claims of the UP government, they are still on foot, since there is lack of proper arrangement to ferry them safely to their native places.
She claimed so far 65 migrant workers had been killed in different road accidents in UP, which was quite high considering the number of covid-19 casualties in the state.
Adityanath, while talking to a news channel, accused the Congress of playing politics on the migrants issue. He alleged that the Congress party had also failed to provide the details of the buses that it proposed to run.
Besides, the UP government said the influx of migrants from the Congress ruled states like Rajasthan and Punjab was happening without proper arrangement and screening.
Meanwhile, the state has requested Indian Railways to operate short distance trains within UP to ferry workers from one place to another,’ he informed. The state is planning to facilitate the operation of intrastate trains from Agra, Ghaziabad, Jhansi, Mathura, Meerut, Saharanpur, Noida, Mahoba etc.
The government has urged the authorities in other states to dissuade workers from venturing on foot or other unsafe means to return.
So far, 590 trains carrying nearly 760,000 labourers have returned to UP from states, mainly Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan etc. Of these, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Punjab account for the maximum number of train arrivals.
The state has deployed more than 10,000 buses to take the incoming migrant workers to their native districts and places. The CM has asked the district magistrates to rent 200 private buses for the movement of migrants.