Bihar CM Nitish Kumar (Photo Credit: PTI)
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday said sending stranded migrant workers to their home states would defeat the purpose of the lockdown and could increase the spread of the coronavirus. He said a better course of action would be to provide food and shelter to such people, wherever they are, by setting up special camps.
Kumar ordered officials to set up relief camps in districts in Bihar that share borders with adjoining states like Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, and also Nepal.
"Arrangement of buses could bring respite to people who have been enduring problems after the nationwide lockdown came into force. But we must be mindful of the danger. If just one passenger in any of these buses happens to be carrying the virus, it could spread," the chief minister said.
He made the statement reacting to reports that the governments of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi have arranged buses which would ferry thousands of people stranded in Delhi-NCR to their native places.
The chief minister had announced earlier this week that the Bihar government will bear the expenses towards food and lodging of stranded migrants in other states and directed resident commissioners to get in touch with authorities in other states for the purpose.
At a high-level meeting late in the evening, Kumar directed Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar to set up ''aapada seema raahat shivir'' (disaster border relief camps) in districts that share borders with the Himalayan Kingdom as also states like Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
The chief minister directed that besides providing food and shelter, medical assistance will be made available at these camps. Kumar, who is a member of the state legislative council, has contributed Rs 7 crore to the coronavirus eradication fund formed in the state.
He approved the amount from his "Mukhyamantri Kshetr Vikas Yojana", a modified version of the legislators local area development fund under which all MLAs and MLCs can recommend projects worth up to Rs 3 crore in their respective areas every year.