On April 30th, the Madhya Pradesh government went ahead and announced that it had brought back over 20,000 migrant labourers back from other states. These are workers who had been stranded in other states because of the lockdown.
These workers came to Madhya Pradesh from a variety of cities and towns such as Nagaur,Jaisalmer, Jaipur among others. These migrant workers would have to undergo a check up to nullify possibilities of COVID-19 and then they would be sent to their home districts. In addition to the above, 500 people were brought back from Gujarat. It has been estimated that on an average 2,000 to 3,000 labourers had been reaching the state borders on foot every day.
Moreover, the Madhya Pradesh government also took the initiative of allowing 30,000 labourers stranded in various districts of the state to go back to their states in the face of lockdown. The workers who have been able to reach back to Madhya Pradesh and those who have been allowed to return from MP to their native districts are extremely happy with the government’s initiatives. While various states have been taking steps to bring back stranded migrant workers and students back amid the lockdown, the Bihar government has been criticised for not taking adequate measures to bring back stranded migrant workers or students.
In fact Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has been expressing a steady disapproval of the idea and urged stranded people to continue living wherever they are. He even went on and said that those who were trying to bring back their people from other states were violating the demands of the lockdown. He rebuked states like Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan for being over enthusiastic in bringing back stranded people from the other states.
But today, Nitish Kumar’s approach has drastically changed his stance and suddenly begun showing interest in bringing back students and migrant workers who have been stranded in other states. He is now in search of trains to bring back migrant workers to Bihar. His deputy, Sushil Kumar Modi of the BJP, tweeted that the Centre must operate special trains to transport migrants from distant places. Such a demand has also been made by the government of Maharashtra which has been the worst hit by the coronavirus.
Mumbai has the largest number of migrant workers in the country. After being repeatedly accused of being indifferent and ignoring the needs of migrants stuck in different parts of the country, Nitish Kumar seems to be taking cognisance of the matter finally and has asked the Centre for its cooperation.