Bihar urges Centre to run special trains to get stranded migrants back

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Following to the relaxation given by the Central government, facilitating movement of the stranded people across the country back to their native places, the Bihar government is in a fix. It has expressed its helplessness in bringing back over 27 lakh people who are stranded in various parts of the country and desperately want return. Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi on Wednesday issued a statement saying that the respective state governments should arrange for the transportation of these stranded people. On Thursday, he made an appeal to the Central government for facilitating special trains to transport these people back to the state. “I appeal to the Centre to provide non-stop special trains where these stranded people can be made to travel keeping social distance as operating buses to bring them back might take months,” said Sushil Modi. Till date over 27 lakh people stranded across the country have applied for help from the state government.

Of these, five lakh applications have come from Delhi alone, followed by 2.88 lakh from Maharashtra, 2 lakh from Gujarat and over 1 lakh from Karnataka. Ashok Choudhary, minister in the Nitish Kumar cabinet, indicated that it was next to impossible for the state to provide so many buses and the entire exercise might take months to bring back those stranded in other states. He said, “If the theory of social distancing has to be implemented in transporting these people, a 45-seater bus would be able to accommodate about 14 to 15 people and that would be a Herculean task to bring over 27 lakh people back to the state.” The same apprehension was raised by the Bihar DGP, but he added that the nodal agency has been formed in the state and every person coming back would be screened properly and arrangements are being made to quarantine them as well.

The government has said that it has embarked upon a door-to-door screening in the state, almost in the line of the pulse polio programme. But what will happen when these migrants are back? This question has worried the officials in the state. The Opposition has already started targeting the government. Leader of Opposition and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said, “It’s the duty of the state government to ensure that facilities are provided for the safe transportation of these helpless people and proper arrangements made for their screening, testing, medicines and quarantine. We will not tolerate any dilly-dallying on the part of Nitish Kumar on that front.”

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