Barricaded, warned of quarantine: Migrant workers to be stopped at borders

Topics Coronavirus | Migrants | Lockdown

Only movement of goods should be allowed, the meeting decided
States and union territories (UT) must barricade their borders to stop thousands of migrant workers from travelling to their homes during a three-week lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus, the centre said on Sunday. People who break the lockdown to travel will be quarantined for 14 days, it said.

Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, during a video conference, asked chief secretaries and police chiefs to ensure that migrant workers are paid wages and they got food and shelter at their workplaces, news agencies PTI and ANI reported.

"There has been movement of migrant workers in some parts of the country. Directions were issued that district and state borders should be effectively sealed," said a government statement.

"Those who have violated the lockdown and travelled during the period of lockdown will be subject to minimum 14 days of quarantine in government quarantine facilities, the statement said.

District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police will be held responsible for implementing the lockdown.

The orders to states and UTs came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he "sought forgiveness" for the "harsh decisions" his government has taken to prevent coronavirus from spreading.

"Some people will say what kind of prime minister is this but these are special circumstances. You had to undergo problems I understand but there is no other way out to fight the coronavirus," he said in his weekly radio show 'Mann ki Baat'.

The directions to the states came after images of poor workers and families marching hundreds of kilometres or desperately trying to catch buses home filled TV channels' screens and pages of newspapers, prompting criticism that the lockdown was ill-planned. 


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