A day after the Centre directed all states to seal their borders and restrict the movement of people walking back to their native states, due to the loss of livelihoods in the wake of the nationwide lockdown, around 1,100 people were restricted from crossing Gujarat borders on Tuesday and sheltered at relief camps between Vadodara and Dahod. Around 700 people were sheltered at relief camps in Vadodara, while around 400 people were sheltered in Dahod.
Until Sunday evening, people from as far as Mumbai had started their journeys to their native villages in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar via Dahod district in Gujarat. On Tuesday, the flow had almost ceased at the Gujarat-MP border that had seen a sea of migrant labourers for almost a week.
Several people resorted to taking kuccha roads or forested stretches to evade police and enter the neighbouring states. The Dahod police, however, enhanced its patrolling. “We have enhanced the patrolling in areas where there are no check posts. We are also bringing back people found walking on the roads to recently set-up relief camps,” said Hitesh Joisar, Dahod Superintendent of Police.
Meanwhile, the Dahod district administration has decided to send back each incoming migrant labourer from nearby districts, henceforth. “The district administration is working in close coordination with the police department and we are bringing each person to relief camps. We have three operational camps at the moment, while six others have been identified and will be used as and when needed. Health camps are being organised and food is also being provided. However, from tomorrow (Wednesday), if a person comes here from other districts with an intention to cross the state border to Rajasthan and Maharashtra, we will send them back to the districts they have come from,” said Dahod district Collector, Vijay Kharadi.
In the neighbouring district of Jhabua in Madhya Pardesh which shares its borders with Dahod, around 75,000 migrant labourers have returned to their villages since the lockdown was imposed, Kharadi confirmed. Across 39 centres, 300 people have been quarantined and facilities have been set up at schools in each village bordering Gujarat to quarantine those returning through unguarded roads.
“The border with Dahod has been completely sealed, imposing total restriction on any kind of movement of people into the district. Same for those who had entered Jhabua and intended to cross over to other districts. Village gram panchayats have been informed to quarantine people reaching villages without proper screening for 14 days and provide them food and other facilities at the school premises itself. A rapid action team also reaches the village to thoroughly examine them,” said Jhabua district Collector, Prabal Sepaha.
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