State Transport Minister Anil Parab said Sunday the decision to roll out free intrastate bus service to take stranded Maharashtra residents back to their home districts has been stayed over concerns that passengers could take the infection with them to these districts.
“Various districts authorities and elected representatives expressed fears that large number of people coming to the villages could make the entire districts vulnerable to the infection. So, the decision has been stayed for now,” Parab said.
Sources in the government said there was also a fear of resulting law and order problems.
“Fights could have broken out in villages. It would have created divisions among people in the villages,” said a government source, adding there were concerns about law and order problems arising in several part of Maharashtra.
Parab, however, said the bus services would be used to transport migrant workers walking on highways to drop them at the state borders. “Many migrant workers from other states are walking on roads across the state. So, we are now dropping them through these buses at Maharashtra borders, and they can proceed further to their states,” he added.
On Saturday, the state government had announced that the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation bus service would start Monday and continue till the lockdown was lifted on May 17.
It also announced that people who want to travel to their native districts, should form groups of 22 and submit an application with all their details, including destination and contact details, either to the police commissioner in city areas or to district collector in rural areas.
Transport arrangements for such groups will be made only after approval from the nodal officer.