Even as the Gujarat government has declared that it will not allow movement of migrant labourers across state border to their native places, hundreds of labourers could be seen moving in Aravalli district in North Gujarat towards Rajasthan, on Tuesday. Aravalli district shares border with Rajasthan.
In the initial days of lockdown, Gujarat government had made arrangements to send thousands of labourers to their native places in three phases. After that, the government announced that it will not allow any movement across the border.
However, on Tuesday, around 500 migrant labourers from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh could be seen moving towards Ratanpur checkpost near Shamlaji in Aravalli district.
Lalu Das (47), a borewell worker from Bhilwara district of Rajasthan, had been working in Valsad district of South Gujarat for past few years along with 10-15 other labourers. Follow India Coronavirus LIVE UPDATES
“I left Valsad because people of the village where I used to stay told us to leave because the government had declared lockdown till April 14. What should we do? We did not have arrangements for food or water. Now we are stranded. Police here is not allowing us to go,” said Das.
Uday Singh, 26, who used to work with Das, said, “We left Valsad 4-5 days ago. Today we reached this (inter-state) border. We are too tired and our legs are bruised. But police are not allowing us to go. Our family members are too worried for us. We really hope for some help.”
Aravalli Superintendent of Police, Mayur Patil, said, “We are not allowing anybody to cross the border during the lockdown period. We are persuading the labourers to go back to where they came from. If they are not willing, we will keep them in relief camps here. They may stay here as long as the lockdown is in place.”
“We are also asking the companies for which the labourers were working to take care of them and give them salary. If the labourers are daily wagers, then they can always stay in the relief camps,” he added.
Speaking with The Indian Express, Aravalli Collector Amrutesh Aurangabadkar said, “We have three relief camps in the district — two in Bhiloda and one in Modasa. We are providing them all the facilities, including meals, as per the Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines. At present, we have around 1,100 migrant labourers in the camps.”
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