(Eds: Updating with latest development) Bhubaneswar, Apr 29 (PTI) The Odisha government on Wednesday facilitated the return of 975 students of the state, who were stranded at the coaching hub of Kota in Rajasthan due to the ongoing lockdown, official sources said.
The students will start their journey home by bus from Thursday.
A large number of students from Odisha, who are now stuck at Kota, and their parents have earlier appealed to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to ensure their safe return to the state.
While the students have arranged their own transport, the state government has facilitated the permit for travelling in buses.
'The government has taken up the matter with Kota administration in Rajasthan and ensured safe return of the students including girls,' said a senior IPS officer in charge of coordinating with other states.
He said the state government has also asked the students to strictly adhere to social distancing and quarantine guidelines.
The students will have to abide by the 14-day mandatory quarantine in their respective districts, the officer said.
Parents of six students have brought the matter to our notice that 13 students from the district are stranded in Kota, said Rayagada Collector Pramod Behera.
Congress legislature party leader Narasingha Mishra had also urged the chief minister to take immediate measures to bring back the students in Kota.
'Urge @CMO_Odisha to take immediate step to bring back the stranded students at Kota,' Mishra said in his twitter post.
Earlier, Monica, one of the stranded students, in a video message said, 'It is a humble request from all students of Odisha to the state government for our safe return. We have already registered on the dedicated COVID-19 portal, but we have not got any response.' Monica said they came to Kota nine months ago but now they are not feeling safe as COVID-19 cases have been increasing in the Rahasthan town.
States like UP, Maharashtra and Assam have already taken measures to bring back students of their respective states, she said.
Gayatri Sahu, another student, in a tweet to Chief Ministers Office said, 'Hon'ble Chief Minister, we are students from Odisha stuck in Kota due to COVID-19. Kota becomes Rajasthan's next hotspot. UP govt has arranged buses for their students. We request you to plz make arrangement to #SendUsBackHome.' 'At least 2500 Odia students are stuck in Kota and need help. UP and other governments are already in action.
Kindly help students from Odisha,' tweeted another student.
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