Patna: The decision of UP CM Yogi Adityanath to transport back home around 7000 students of the state has put the Nitish Kumar government in a fix.
On Friday around 300 buses from UP were dispatched for Kota to bring the students back home.
Leader of the opposition Tejashwi Yadav hailed the Adityanath government for the move, while taking pot shots at Bihar CM for being indecisive.
“Other states like Gujarat and UP have shown concern over residents stranded outside the state and have taken steps to bring back them home,” Tejashwi remarked in a statement Saturday, while pointing out, “If BJP run governments were capable of shifting its people back why was the state government of Bihar so helpless.”
There are an estimated 8,000 students from Bihar studying in Kota for their medical and engineering entrance tests who are stranded due to the lockdown. There are talks of depression setting in, especially after the return of their UP friends.
‘Injustice with the principles of lockdown’
The Bihar CM has made strong objection to the UP government’s decision, with chief minister Nitish calling it gross injustice. “Special buses are being sent to ferry students from Kota it is injustice with the principles of lockdown ,” he remarked while speaking to the media Friday evening.
Bihar chief secretary Deepak Kumar has said it would open a Pandora’s box as the state had taken strong measures to check the return exodus of Bihari migrant labourers from other states. He added that two yard sticks cannot be adopted for students and migrant labourers.
Bihar minister Ashok Choudhary slammed the move, saying that since UP had not followed the dictates of the centre on the lockdown, the Centre should remove all barriers. “Our government has been following the dictates of the Centre during lockdown and we even avoided calling our migrant labourers. But after UP government’s steps, the Opposition is trying to create an impression that we do not care about our students,” he remarked.
Anand Kumar — of the Super 30 fame — also says that there are students facing genuine problems who should be brought back, “The number of Bihari students studying outside the state in engineering colleges must be over one lakh. It would be ideal for the students to remain at the place where they are now. But there are students facing genuine problems for whom the government should attempt to bring back home,” he told ThePrint.
Teachers in Kota also point towards the difficulty faced by the Bihari students. “The problems faced by the students now is that the courses are complete and they have to remain confined to one small room. It is depressing. Two times a day food is delivered either by the government or an NGO which is inadequate for their age group. A lot of them face financial problems as they are asked to pay rent by the house owners. I think the Bihar government should make plans to take them back home,” Abhay Kumar Singh, a teacher of Maths in Kota remarked, pointing out that not a single Bihari student in Kota had tested positive.
D. B. Singh, who runs a coaching institute in Kota for aspiring IITians, said that after the UP students made their exit on buses restlessness prevails among Bihari students. “I got a call from my students from Bihar requesting me to make arrangements for their return, the situation is not only for Bihari students but also students from other states,” he remarked, stressing that the UP government should ensure that students they had brought back are quarantined.
Around ten days back a video went viral showing around 200 Bihari girl students assembling and showing placards, urging the Bihar CM to facilitate their return home, but the Bihar government ignored it.
With no help from the Bihar government, students have been returning on their own. Nitish Kumar has informed the Centre that around 300 students from Kota had returned on taxis with permits. The attack on a medical team in Aurangabad earlier this week took place when it went to test a student from Delhi who had returned on his own despite the lockdown.
‘The principle of lockdown should not be violated’
Recently, a large number of migrant labourers in Bandra, Mumbai had assembled amidst rumours that train services had resumed, leading to the Bihar government issuing an appeal.
Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi had appealed to the migrant labourers not to return during the lockdown period and not be carried away by fake news. “We have already provided financial assistance to over 9 lakh migrant labourers by transferring Rs 1000 in their account. We have received around 16 lakh applications through APP we had launched and we are processing them fast. The principle of lockdown should not be violated,” Modi told ThePrint.
He also claimed that help had been extended to over 10 lakh migrant labourers by the special cell set up in Bihar Bhawan Delhi. However, after migrant labourers the Nitish government is facing mounting pressure from students. “It is a section in the society which no political establishment can ignore. Sooner or later the government will have to make a move,” remarked a JDU minister.
While Nitish has opposed UP CM’s move, the state BJP unit has come in Adityanath’s defence: “The UP government has taken the step after assessing the situation , Nitish Kumar will also assess the situation on students,” remarked BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand.