In a communication to the States, Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has noted that fear of COVID-19 infection and apprehension of loss of livelihood are the main driving factors for the movement of stranded workers towards their homes. In order to mitigate the distress of migrant workers, the communication stresses on a number of measures that may be taken by the State governments, pro-actively in coordination with the Centre. These are:
- Operation of more special trains by pro-active coordination between States and with Ministry of Railways;
- Increase in number of buses for transporting migrants; allowing entry of buses carrying migrants at inter-state border;
- More clarity may be given about departure of trains/ buses, as lack of clarity coupled with rumours caused unrest amongst the workers;
- Arrangement of designated rest places, with adequate facilities for sanitation, food and healthcare, could be made by the States on routes where migrants are known to be already travelling on foot;
- District Authorities may guide workers moving on foot to designated rest places, nearby bus terminals or railway stations by arranging transportation;
- Special attention may be given to the specific requirements of women, children and elderly amongst the migrant workers;
- District Authorities may involve NGO representatives at rest places etc, to alleviate the notion of long quarantine at rest places. Workers may also be encouraged to remain at places where they are;
- Enlisting the migrants with their addresses and contact numbers. This may be helpful in contact tracing in due course.
The communication reiterates that District Authorities must ensure that no migrant worker has to resort to walking on roads or railway tracks to reach his/her destination. They may request Ministry of Railways for running trains, as per requirement.