Packets containing a steel plate, bowl, bucket, mug, toothbrush, tongue-cleaner, soap, detergent, comb, mirror, towel and two shampoo pouches are new possessions for migrants who have landed at the Gopalganj quarantine centre from the UP-Bihar border.
Forty-four migrants from Jharkhand and Bihar are among several others who have been lodged at the quarantine centre in Gopalganj at the double-storey ZA Islamia High School building which can accommodate 100 people.
While migrants from only a respective district can stay at a quarantine centre at the block headquarters in that district, a few migrants from other states are also among those staying in Gopalganj till other districts make transport arrangements for them. The Bihar government has opened such quarantine centres at block headquarters for those coming to the state by either special trains or inter-state borders on their own.
Nearly 3 lakh people can be accommodated in the total 2,918 quarantine centres across the state — four lakh migrants have returned to Bihar so far.
Eight chowkidars are on 24-hour duty at the school which has eight toilets. Bottled water is being supplied. While there is a daily visit by a doctor, several migrants claim they have neither been screened at the border nor at the quarantine centre.
Many argue against the 21-day quarantine period in the absence of Covid symptoms but say they will accept it since it means safety for their families.
Dr Upendra Kumar, who visits the centre everyday, said no migrant had any Covid symptoms.
Keshav Goel, in-charge of the quarantine centre, said, “We are giving our best here by providing timely food. As for thermal screening not done in cases of some people, our doctor here ensures to check if anyone has Covid symptoms.”
Mohammed Adnan from Motihari, who sells biscuits on a cart in Kushinagar, said, “Since there has been a spurt in Covid cases in Bihar, I have no problem staying here. I want my family safe.”
Six migrants from Jharkhand’s Deogarh are also lodged at the centre. Mohammed Pahluddin said they were waiting for the Jharkhand government to arrange a bus to take them home. “None of us has more than Rs 500 cash in hand. We spent most on managing transport,” said Karan Kumar, who works as a mechanic in Delhi, earning Rs 12,000 per month. Jay Kumar from Bihar’s Madhepura who earns Rs 400 a day as a labourer in Pilibhit said, “We get our first meal at 10 am and second at 5 pm. In between, we get two cups of tea with biscuits. What we are getting is better than what we used to get during the lockdown. But a breakfast should be added.”
Around 72,000 migrants are at quarantine centres in Bihar.
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