Baghel seeks SDRF funds for transportation of migrants

Raipur, May 15 (PTI) Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupeh Baghel on Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting that provision be made for expenditure towards transportation of migrants from the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF).

In a letter to Modi, Baghel said more than 1.50 lakh migrant workers and others from Chhattisgarh are stranded in other states due to lockdown.

More than 27,000 migrants have returned by buses provided by the state government or by their own means, while the process to bring back 1.32 lakh workers by trains and buses began from May 11, Baghel said.

'There is currently no provision for payment of expenses incurred on rail and bus travel from the SDRF,' he said.

Referring to a March 14 letter of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Baghel said, 'COVID-19 has been classified as a national disaster by the Centre. As per this letter the state can use 25 percent of the SDRF allocation for quarantining people, sample collection, contact tracing and screening.' Ten per cent of funds can be used for setting up laboratories, purchase of personal protection kits, thermal scanners, ventilators and other equipment. SDRF can also be used to pay for relief camps for migrant workers, it said.

'A huge sum of money is expected to be spent in transportation of workers and ensuring them other facilities.

Hence, adequate provision should be made in the SDRF for payment of expenses incurred in ferrying migrants and others from different parts of the country to home state or from one place to another within the state,' Baghel said.

The prime minister should issue necessary instructions to the MHA in this regard, the letter added. PTI TKP KRK KRK