March 27, 2020 11:12:03 pm
Even as several migrant labourers were seen walking towards the state’s borders in panic, the state government on Friday submitted before the Gujarat High Court (HC) that “a large number of measures have been taken and all cross sections of the society…is being taken care of, in particular, the unorganized sector, unrecognized sector, the migrated labourers/ workers from other states, the beggars and all below the poverty line.” The response was pursuant to the court’s requirement from the state to file an Action Taken Report (ATR) in response to the suo motu cognisance it had taken in the wake of the World Health Organization declaring novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as a pandemic.
Meanwhile, it was also submitted that each of the 33 district collectors have been provided with funds — ranging from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 2 crore — to make necessary requirements and human resources available to tackle the pandemic threat. District collectors may also utilise any government, panchayati or local body employees and funds under the National Health Mission (NHM) and the District Health Societies for the procurement of medicines, diagnostic kits and other consumables.
While migrants labourers have been largely discouraged from traveling, “by way of exception and as one-time measure on purely humanitarian ground to help about out more than 4,000 Daily Wagers / Labourers / Workers, who were stranded on the roads at various places in the State, while returning to their respective hometowns situated inside as well as outside the State; their safe and secured transportation has been facilitated with the help of Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC)…” with 55 buses made available across 10 districts for ferrying 4,039 persons to Madhya Pradesh or Rajasthan borders or intra-state destinations, as submitted by Mohammad Shahid, the Secretary of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department, Government of Gujarat.
The government pleader representing the state government submitted before the HC that apart from measures being taken to control the spread of COVID-19 in prisons, “applications from prisoners desirous to avail parole and furlough” have been collected and a special arrangement has been made to dispose of the same at the earliest.
For health workers
Responding to a petition moved on Friday seeking sufficient provision of Personal Protection Equipments (PPE) to all health workers and all concerned dealing with patients suspected of/ infected with COVID-19, the state government submitted that it has already provided complete protection in full gear to all such staff. Advocate General Kamal Trivedi further assured the court that “there would be no laxity in taking care of the attending staff as otherwise, the State itself would be promoting the spread of coronavirus.”
The court directed that interim reliefs passed by any and all courts are to continue until June 15. Bail orders, too, which stand to expire on or before April 30, stand extended by a month’s duration. The matter is expected to be heard further on April 3.
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