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States can use Rs 29,000 cr SDRF fund for food, shelter to migrant workers: MHA

NEW DELHI: The home ministry on Saturday advised the state governments to set up relief camps along the highways for homeless people, including migrant workers stranded due to the lockdown, and use assistance under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to provide them food, temporary shelter and medical care.
“Under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the home ministry has directed the states to use SDRF fund allocations to provide temporary accommodation, food, clothing and medical care to the homeless, migrant workers and all those stranded in relief camps due to the lockdown,” home minister Amit Shah tweeted on Saturday.

Home secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote to the state chief secretaries on Saturday, requesting them to immediately set up relief camps for migrant workers/pilgrims etc who are returning to their domicile states or trying to do so. States were advised to set up relief camps along the highways, where many migrant labourers are on a trek back to their home villages. This would involve setting up of tented accommodation to ensure that these persons stay in the relief camps till the lockdown orders are in force.
The shelters must be organised keeping in view various precautions including social distancing, with adequate medical check up drives to identify and separate cases requiring quarantine or hospitalisation, underlined the home ministry.
The Home Secretary advised the states to ensure wide publicity and awareness about precise location of the relief camps and the facilities they offer. States were told to educate the migrant workers about the relief package under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana and measures being taken by the state government to alleviate their hardships. It was suggested that such publicity be done using the public address systems, technology and also through volunteers and NGOs.
A home ministry official on Saturday emphasised that the states had adequate funds available under SDRF — which as norms notified on March 14 can be used for provision of temporary accommodation, food, clothing, medical care etc to those affected by COVID-19 measures — to take care of migrant workers. These include SDRF funds for the current year as well as for the coming financial year, which add up to Rs 29,000, she added.

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    TOI

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