With the returning Bihari migrants posing severe threats to the state’s health conditions, the state government has ordered to convert village schools and panchayat buildings into quarantine centres to allow them to stay for some time.
Thousands of migrants working in various parts of the country are returning to their homes with the offices shut and factories and construction sites closed in the aftermath of the Coronavirus outbreak.
However, there have been reports about the co-villagers not allowing the returning fellow villagers to stay in their villages apprehending that they may come in contact with them and contract the virus. Alarmed at the prevailing situation in many villages, the state government has now decided to make arrangements for temporary shelters for the returnees who, co-villagers fear, might be carrying Coronavirus with them and thus allowing them to mingle with the villagers may put everyone’s life at risk.
Keeping in view the gravity of the situation, the state home secretary Aamir Subhani has now asked all the district magistrates in the state to convert the village schools/panchayat bhawans/other government buildings into quarantine centres for the returning migrants. Orders have also been issued to arrange for water and toilets and maintain hygiene at such buildings where the migrants will be put up. The local mukhiya and panchayat officials also have been asked to be on an alert and take care of the migrants.
The general masses have got panicky after the Corona cases registered a surge in the recent weeks and the government issuing frequent advisories about strictly following social distancing. But the main cause of villagers’ concerns is that a majority of the migrants had taken shelters in states like Delhi, Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab and Gujarat which reported the maximum number of Corona cases in the country.
Now they fear that the migrants’ mixing with the village population could bring disaster in the whole of the villages and that has caused unrest.
Local TV footage has shown the migrants crowding buses and even grabbing seats on their roofs, sitting chockablock, very much against the government’s guidelines to maintain social distancing.
How seriously people have taken the government’s advisory is underlined from the fact that around eight thousand people reached Patna from Maharashtra in the past two days by trains, even crowding the air-conditioned bogies, let aside the sleeper and general bogies. The crowds of these migrants have now caused a virtual panic in the villages.
According to an estimate, there are around five to six million Bihari migrants who are settled in various parts of the country. Districts like Saharsa, Madhepura, Purnia, Katihar, Supaul, Gopalganj, Gaya, and Aurangabad are said to have the highest migration rate.