From Tuesday, migrants returning to Bihar will not be registered or quarantined, according to a government decision. Those who returned to the state till Monday had been registered and quarantined in more than 5,000 centres, which together host around 13 lakh migrants. These centres will be closed after June 15, when the 14-day quarantine of the last batch of registered migrants ends.
Thermal screening at railway stations is also set to be discontinued, but there is to be a medical desk at every station to facilitate treatment to those unwell.
The state government’s decision comes at a time when many migrants returning to Bihar have tested positive for Covid-19. Of the 3,872 confirmed cases in the state, 2,743 are migrants who have returned after May 3. Migrants returning from Maharashtra accounted for 677 cases. Other migrants who tested positive include 628 who returned from Delhi, 405 from Gujarat and 237 from Haryana. There have also been confirmed cases among migrants who returned from UP, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Telangana, among other states.
“We have carried out the biggest-ever evacuation exercise by bringing back over 30 lakh migrants. We are closing registration on Monday evening. In any case, maximum people have returned,” said Pratyaya Amrit, principal secretary at Bihar’s Disaster Management Authority. Amrit said door-to-door health monitoring would continue, and that medical facilities would remain the same from primary health centres to Level I and Level II hospitals.
Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi said, “Foreign experts have concluded that home quarantine is the best quarantine. Yet, we have run quarantine centres giving migrants all kinds of facilities, including reimbursement of train and bus fare and necessary items kit worth Rs 1,000.”
Opposition parties criticised the state government’s decision. “At a time when infection has been on the rise, there was urgency to run these quarantine centres for those coming from danger-zone states. All those coming back now would mingle with the population and would further threaten to spread infection,” said AICC secretary Chandan Yadav.
Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav said, “When people have been dying of Covid infection and hunger and are still walking back home, the NDA has been thinking of election in Bihar. The BJP is planning a digital rally on June 9. This alone shows the insensitivity of the state government.”
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