Covid-19: UP ramps up evacuation of worker from Delhi NCR | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Covid-19: UP ramps up evacuation of worker from Delhi NCR

ByPeeyush Khandelwal & Sanjeev K Jha, Ghaziabad/noida
Mar 28, 2020 09:22 PM IST

The Delhi-Uttar Pradesh (UP) border saw an uptick in reverse migration to the country’s most populous state on Saturday morning, as hundreds of workers continued their march back home after their livelihood options dried up and savings were exhausted amid the 21-day nationwide lockdown that started since Wednesday to tackle the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

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The UP State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) authorities have been ferrying the migrants to their destinations from Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar districts, which share borders with Delhi.

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The Uttar Pradesh government had made arrangement of about 1000 buses to ferry migrant workers. Ghaziabad’s sub divisional magistrate Devendra Pal on Saturday night said that an estimated 400-500 buses had left ISBT Kaushambi but figures of buses leaving Lal Kuan were not readily available.

The officials of UPSRTC’s Ghaziabad region said that till Friday midnight they had sent about 96 buses and were arranging more to help the migrants reach their respective destinations.

“ We have sent 79 buses till 11.30 am on Saturday to various destinations in UP such as Lucknow, Etawah, Bareilly, Etah, Aligarh and Gorakhpur apart from nearby places. We will continue sending buses till all the stranded workers are sent home. Bus services have resumed from ISBT [Inter State Bus Terminus] Kaushambi,” said AK Singh, regional manager of UPSRTC.

“We sent 96 buses from Lal Kuan intersection till Friday night and more buses are being arranged from other depots. We had arranged 200 buses on Friday but police stopped some of them because of orders that people should stay put at their respective places due to the lockdown. However, on late Friday night we received orders to resume services,” he added.

The movement of migrant workers started on Tuesday (March 24) after Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a nationwide lockdown because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

“The movement of migrant workers is in thousands and an estimated of about 40000-50000 were lined up on Delhi-UP border on Saturday evening. they are still coming in large numbers. The social distancing is openly flouted as the workers are in a hurry to catch the first bus to their hometowns,” said VK Mittal, president of Kaushambi apartments’ RWA, an apex body of Kaushambi Township.

Migrant workers such as Mohammad Fakhruddin, who came to Lal Kuan in Ghaziabad from Tank Road in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh, said that he was waiting for his bus to arrive.

“I have to go to Badaun, my hometown. Another 10 people will be travelling with me. I work for a garment-manufacturing unit, which makes denim jeans. However, our work has stopped due to the lockdown. The landlord is asking for rent and I have no money to pay. My family members and I have decided to move back to our hometown until the crisis blows over. We came to Lal Kuan by a UP Roadways bus. From ISBT Kaushambi, we will board another bus that will drop us at Badaun,” he added.

Ghaziabad district magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey denied that the migrants were stopped at Delhi-UP borders. “Nobody has been stopped at the Delhi-UP borders,” he said.

Those who had come to catch the buses from Lal Kuan even complained that some private vehicle owners were charging very high amount.

“Some private vehicles are also available but they told me that I have to shell out Rs 1000 for a drop to my hometown. Likewise they are charging different exorbitant amounts for other areas like Etah, Lucknow, Aligarh etc. Many are also taking help of mini trucks, commercial trucks, milkvans and other commercial vehicles at the risk of their safety. The trains are also not available. As a result people have no option to wait for UP government buses and pay normal fare,” said Atul Kumar, a cell centre employee travellng to his hometown Etawah from Noida

The police can be seen extending a helping hand to the workers to reach their destinations.

“It’s a massive crisis for these poor people. They started coming in groups of 25 to 30 and were walking towards Hapur, Moradabad, etc. We have helped many of them board empty trucks and other commercial vehicles, as they could be dropped off near their hometowns,” said a police officer.

Good samaritans such as Ram Sundar Maurya are also helping the workers and busy distributing cooked food to them near Masuri on national highway (NH)-9.

“The workers have started coming again. We are preparing about 300 boxes of food items for them. We helped about 300 workers to board their respective buses on Friday evening,” Maurya said.

In Gautam Budh Nagar, the UPSRTC has provided about 200 buses to help stranded migrant workers go home.

“These buses are leaving after every two hours from 8 am on Saturday. We will run the service for the next 48 hours,” said Sankalp Sharma, deputy commissioner of police (DCP), Noida. He said all district and administrative authorities have been instructed to allow these buses to travel on a priority basis.

“We have also requested that the passengers be provided with food and medical facilities The buses will drop the passengers at different inter-state border points in UP. The passengers can avail of the transportation facilities being provided by the state governments of their respective native states,” he added.

The DCP said that all the district magistrates (DMs) have been requested to record the details of the buses reaching their respective districts on Saturday and Sunday.

“The DMs have been asked to make arrangements for the medical screening of all the passengers at their destination points, maintaining their full details, including names, addresses, and mobile numbers. It will help us in monitoring and supervision of these passengers at a later stage,” Sharma added.

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