After being stranded at Kota in Rajasthan for more than a month due to the lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, about 2,400 students from West Bengal returned to the state on buses Friday.
The buses entered the state via Bihar and Jharkhand. While some buses went to Siliguri, others went to Asansol. After a medical check-up there, students were sent towards their homes.
IAS officer P B Salim, who coordinated the process, said, “A total of 2,400 students came in 103 buses. Two convoys of buses reached Asansol and one convoy reached Siliguri.”
He said social distancing was maintained in the buses. “These students will be taken to their home districts in govt buses. There they will be screened and quarantined,” said Salim.
The buses reached Siliguri and Asansol within 1 pm and the first bus with students from Kolkata reached the city at 5 pm.
Muhammed Sahil (20), a resident of Mominpur in Kolkata who was in Kota to prepare for competitive exams, said, “We were helpless. The institutions we are enrolled in sent us food. But, we tweeted almost every day, tagging the West Bengal government and requesting evacuation. We are grateful to the governments of Rajasthan and West Bengal.” Yuvaraj Chowdhury, a resident of Kharagpur, said, “I was staying alone in a rented accommodation. And arranging food was a daily struggle. Some organisations helped us a lot. I am happy the government made arrangements to bring us home.”
A large number of students from the state go to Kota in Rajasthan to prepare for entrance tests for engineering and medical courses.
On April 29, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said, “Around 2,500 to 3,000 students from Kota will board buses today evening. It will take three days for them to reach here.”
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