NEW DELHI: The Centre on Thursday asked state governments to arrange food and shelter for migrant workers who are facing difficulties due to the 21-day lockdown announced to check the spread of coronavirus.
Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Punya Salila Srivastava said students, who are in hostels, should continue to stay there for their own safety.
“We have asked the state governments to arrange food and shelter for the migrant workers. We are sensitizing everyone that wherever they are, they should remain there. Students should continue to remain in hostels,” she said at a press conference here.
There have been reports of a large number of migrant workers leaving their work place in different parts of the country and walking down to their native places, hundreds of kilometres away, facing hardships on the way.
The migrant workers reportedly started their journey on foot as there was no transport available after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the 21-day lockdown on Tuesday.
Srivastava said the central government is regularly monitoring the situation so that there is no crisis of essential commodities.
“A control room has been set up by the Union Home ministry to monitor the situation 24×7. With constant monitoring, we hope that there will be no crisis of essential commodities during the lockdown period,” she said.
Srivastava said there were some problems in inter-state cargo movement but they have now been cleared up.
“For transport of medicine to some remote areas like in the Northeast, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is making arrangements for chartered aircraft,” she said.
Coronavirus has so far claimed 13 lives in India and there were 649 postive cases.