THE STATE government is unlikely to implement the order of the central government, which allows for intrastate movement of stranded migrant workers to their workplaces. Government sources said the decision to not allow such movement stemmed from the rapidly increasing cases of coronavirus in the state.
On Sunday, the central government allowed the movement of migrant workers residing in relief camps within the state with certain riders, to help industries start their operations. Some riders include registration of migrant workers with local authorities, their skill mapping, screening and ensuring social distancing norms while transporting them by buses.
Sources said the state government was not keen on allowing the movement of migrant workers within the state in the current scenario.
“The movement of migrant labourers from one district to another will not happen as the focus is on stopping the spread of coronavirus. But the industries have been allowed to transport workers to their workplaces within the district. So they can use workers available within the district for running their operations,” a bureaucrat said.
The bureaucrat further pointed to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s statement on Sunday that district borders will continue to remain sealed till further orders. Earlier, the state government was contemplating this move with a view to help industries by making labourers available for operations.
A senior minister said though the central government had issued guidelines, most of the district collectors were focused on protecting their districts to keep them free of COVID-19.
“So, much of it depends on the district collectors. And given the current circumstances, nobody wants to take the chance,” the minister added.
In order to mitigate economic hardships brought on by the lockdown, the state government on Friday, acting on Centre’s directives, exempted manufacturing units and other establishments in industrial estates and townships, special economic zones and export-oriented units in non-containment zones from lockdown measures starting April 20. However, the state government withdrew these relaxations in metropolitan areas in Mumbai and Pune on Tuesday, citing crowding.
Officials from the industry department said permission had been granted to 5,740 industrial units outside the Mumbai and Pune Metropolitan Region in the state as on Wednesday and around 1.63 lakh labourers will be engaged in operations. The resumption of most industries will happen in the next few days, an official said.
The state government on Wednesday issued a clarification stating that no offence will be registered against factory owners or company management if any worker is found coronavirus positive. An official said the message was being forwarded on the social media saying legal action will be taken against a factory owner or company management.
“The government has no such plan. It will take care of workers if they test positive,” said the official, adding that factories and companies were expected to follow social distancing norms mentioned in the notification.
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