Daily wagers leaving Delhi-NCR for their native villages on foot on Yamuna Expressway on 27 March 2020
Daily wagers leaving Delhi-NCR for their native villages on foot on Yamuna Expressway on 27 March 2020 | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
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New Delhi: The Modi government Sunday directed states to ensure there is no movement of people across cities or on highways during the 21-day Covid-19 lockdown

Those found in violation of the lockdown conditions will have to spend a minimum of 14 days in quarantine, the government said in a press release.

“We have issued detailed instructions on monitoring of such persons during quarantine… It was impressed upon all the states that three weeks of strict enforcement is essential to contain the spread of coronavirus,” a government official told ThePrint.  

The order came as the central government faces criticism for the massive exodus of migrants from cities, triggered by the absence of accommodation and job opportunities amid the lockdown. 

Even though the government has asked states to ensure migrants and students are properly provided for during the lockdown, thousands have set off on foot for their hometowns, casting a cloud over the efficacy of the attempt to contain the pandemic. 

After a high-level meeting chaired by cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba Sunday, the government issued fresh directions that district and state borders be effectively sealed and opened only for goods movement.

“District magistrates and superintendents of police in the respective states will be made personally responsible for implementation of these directions which have been issued under the Disaster Management Act,” the government official said.

Also Read: Modi apologises for ‘harsh steps’ to check Covid-19, with a veiled rebuke for violators

‘Migrant labourers should be paid their wages’

Restrictions imposed to check the spread of coronavirus infection include the suspension of train and bus services, which sparked the ongoing exodus on foot. 

Amid fears that the huge crowds moving on highways could lead to a surge in Covid-19 infection, the Uttar Pradesh government Saturday arranged 1,000 buses to ferry labourers stranded in Delhi and the NCR regions of Noida and Ghaziabad to their hometowns. 

This arrangement led to large crowds at bus terminals as migrants arrived in droves. This crowd and the packed buses again constituted an infection hazard.

To address the concerns of migrant labourers who feel stranded, the central government also issued orders Saturday that states and union territories could use the State Disaster Relief Fund – a corpus of Rs 29,000 crore – for providing relief to the migrant labourers.

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

The official said states and union territories had been further directed to make arrangements for migrant labourers so they don’t feel compelled to leave.  

“It has been advised that adequate arrangements for food and shelter of poor and needy people including migrant labourers be made at the place of their work,” the government statement says.

Also Read: Why India’s wealthy happily donate to god and govt but loathe helping needy and poor





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4 Comments Share Your Views


  1. Why shutdowan domestick flaight . In boarding flaight before check passanger and board . Many pepole was reached his home. . But domestic flaight shutdowan is may be wrong decision . All vip person now stay in own home but some middil class worker like MR , Product sellar , and all more are problam
    . We all able to domestic flaight purchase tickets and many people have allredy tickets but all is cencelled . Very big problam . And more problam the govt. All shutdown aircraft cere .

  2. Citizens are being treated worse than animals. In their own country.

    Is it any wonder that this government is not believed on the NRC?

  3. One big question the government should be addressing is how to ensure that the harvesting of the Rabi crop, which also uses migrant labour, remains unimpaired.

  4. Sab khayali pulao. Sakal newspapers, belonging to a wealthy family, has let go of ten mid level employees recently, due to economic constraints. Idle to believe the employers of migrant workers can nurture them through the lockdown and what lies beyond it. So, unlike what Jaggi Sir and other assorted geniuses may be writing or tweeting, there is now way these desperately poor people can be assisted through these emergent times. They had to return to their villages, cut their expenses. A more thoughtful – dare one say, competent – government would have organised that movement swiftly, with ST buses, not forced them to walk long distances. After they reach their villages, some of them carrying the virus, the public healthcare system will be even more inadequate than it is in the cities they have fled.


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