Centre orders closure of state borders to stop migrants’ exodus; warns lockdown violaters of 14-day quarantine

Detailed instructions on monitoring of such persons during quarantine have been issued to the states.
Centre orders closure of state borders to stop migrants’ exodus; warns lockdown violaters of 14-day quarantine
Pic: Habib Naqash/GK

The Centre on Sunday asked state governments and UnionTerritory administrations to effectively seal state and district borders tostop movement of migrant workers during the nationwide lockdown and warned thatthose violating the curb will be sent to 14-day quarantine.

During a video conference with chief secretaries and DGPs,Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla asked themto ensure that there is no movement of people across cities or on highways asthe lockdown continues.

"There has been movement of migrant workers in someparts of the country. Directions were issued that district and state bordersshould be effectively sealed," an official statement said.

States were directed to ensure that there is no movement ofpeople across cities or on highways and there should be strict implementationof the lockdown.

Only the movement of goods should be allowed.

Those who have violated the lockdown and travelled duringthe period of lockdown will be subject to minimum 14 days of quarantine ingovernment quarantine facilities, the statement said.

District Magistrates and SPs should be made personallyresponsible for the implementation of these directions, it said.

The two top central government officials told the chiefs ofpolice and civil administrations of all states to make adequate arrangementsfor food and shelter for the poor and needy people including migrant labourersbe made at the place of their work.

The Cabinet secretary and home ministry officials are inconstant touch with the State chief secretaries and the DGPs.

Video conferences were held by the Cabinet Secretary and theHome secretary on Saturday evening as well as Sunday morning with the chiefsecretaries and the DGPs.

"It was noted that, by and large, there has beeneffective implementation of the lockdown guidelines across all States and UTs.Essential supplies have also been maintained. Situation is being monitoredround the clock and necessary measures are being taken as required," thestatement said.

The central government had on Saturday issued orders for theuse of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) funds for this purpose.

Sufficient funds are available with states in this head, itsaid.

States have been also told to ensure timely payment of wagesto labourers at their place of work during the period of lockdown without anycut.

House rent should not be demanded from the labourers forthis period. Action should be taken against those who are asking labourers orstudents to vacate the premises, the statement said.

Detailed instructions on monitoring of such persons duringquarantine have been issued to the states.

It was impressed upon all the states that three weeks ofstrict enforcement is essential to contain the spread of coronavirus. This isin the interest of everyone, the statement said.

A large number of migrant workers have left their workplaces in different parts of the country in last few days and walking down totheir native places, hundreds of kilometres away facing hardships on the way.

The migrant workers have no option but to walk as there isno transport available after the announcement of the nationwide lockdown byPrime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday in a bid to combat the coronavirusoutbreak.

Seeing their plight, some state governments have madearrangements for their transport, accommodation and food of late.

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