Bihar govt will take steps to help migrant workers stranded due to lockdown: Nitish

Patna, Mar 26 (PTI) Reaching out to migrant workers from Bihar who are far away from home and severely hit by the nationwide lockdown, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday asserted that his government will make efforts to help them tide over the 21-day period.

At a high-level meeting here chaired by Kumar to review the COVID-19 situation, he said his government will coordinate with other states, through the Resident Commissioner in Delhi, and bear full expenses for food and lodging of migrants who are stranded without work and pay and are struggling to return home since all modes of public transport have come to a grinding halt.

There are no official estimates available of the number of such migrants, though it is believed that it might be in hundreds of thousands and scattered across the country, from adjacent states like Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal to far-off ones like Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala.

According to media reports, many such workers are losing their jobs in the wake of the virus scare and taking up an arduous journey back home on foot from places as far off as Rajasthan.

Kumar also said a sum of Rs 100 crore has been released from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund, which would be utilised by the disaster management department for setting up shelters for rickshaw pullers and daily wage earners who are living in the state but far from their homes.

These 'aapada raahat kendras' (disaster relief centres) will also provide shelter to workers who may have come from other states to be engaged with projects underway in Bihar, he added.

The relief centres will be set up at Patna and other prominent towns across the state and care will be taken to ensure social distancing and availability of doctors for preventing the spread of the pandemic, the chief minister said. PTI NAC RBT RDM RDM