New Delhi: The Centre on Sunday directed the states to strictly follow the nationwide lockdown norms and stop the movement of people across the cities, advising them to arrange shelter, food and other facilities for migrant labourers at their workplace.
The direction came amid migration of labourers from cities to their villages in different states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced nationwide lockdown to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission.
Noting that there has been movement of migrant workers in some parts of the country, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba through video conferencing with officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs, state Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police on Sunday morning decided to “seal” the district and state borders.
The Ministry of Home Affairs later today wrote to states and Union Territories (UTs) to take measures to prevent large-scale migration of workers. In a five-point guideline, Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla directed the states and UTs to ensure adequate arrangements like “temporary shelters and provision for food to poor and needy people, incuding migrant labourers, stranded due to lockdown measures in their respective areas”.
In a five-point guideline, Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla directed the states and UTs to ensure adequate arrangements like “temporary shelters and provision for food to poor and needy people, incuding migrant labourers, stranded due to lockdown measures in their respective areas”.
As per the direction, the migrant labourers who have moved out to reach their home states must be kept in the nearest shelter by the state and UT government quarantine facilities after proper “screening for a minimum of 14 days” as per standard health protocol.
“All the employers, be it in the industry or in the shops and commercial establishments, shall make payment or wages of their workers, at their work places, on the due date, without any deduction, for the period their establishments are under closure during the lockdown,” the order said.
The order mentions that the landlords of properties where migrant labourers are living in rented accommodations shall not demand payments or rents for a period of one month.
On sealing the borders, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba said during video conferencing: “Directions were issued that district and state borders should be effectively sealed and states were directed to ensure there is no movement of people across cities or on highways,” said a government statement.
“Only movement of goods should be allowed. District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police should be made personally responsible for implementation of these directions which have been issued under the Disaster Management Act”.
Saying that “sufficient funds are available with states in the SDRF head, the Cabinet Secretary advised states to ensure timely payment of wages to labourers at their place of work during the 21-day “period of lockdown without any cut”.
It was ordered that house rent should not be demanded from the labourers for this period and action should be taken against those who are asking labourers or students to vacate the premises.
“Those who have violated the lockdown and travelled during the period of lockdown will be subject to a minimum of 14 days of quarantine in government quarantine facilities. Detailed instructions on monitoring of such persons during quarantine have been issued to states,” Cabinet Secretary instructed.
“It was impressed upon all the states that three weeks of strict enforcement is essential to contain the spread of coronavirus. This is in the interest of everyone.”
It was noted that, by and large, there has been effective implementation of guidelines across all states and Union Territories (UTs). “Essential supplies have also been maintained. Situation is being monitored round the clock and necessary measures are being taken as required.”