Covid-19 hinterland digest: Hard lockdowns in Gujarat, workers suffer

Police baton charge migrant workers during a clash following their agitation seeking arrangements for them to return home, amid ongoing Covid-19 lockdown. Photo: PTI
Gujarat's Ahmedabad placed under a hard lockdown from midnight as an emergency step to control coronavirus cases. Only milk and medicine shops will open for a week to rigorously enforce social distancing rules. A similar lockdown will be enforced in Surat on Friday. Chhattisagarh announced it will enforce similar lockdowns on weekends. 

Business Standard takes a look at regional editions of Hindi newspapers to provide you with a picture of the Covid-19 situation in the hinterland.

Black market corners train tickets

On an average, a sleeper-class ticket to Lucknow from Vadodara costs Rs 565, including the superfast surcharge. However, the labourers are paying over Rs 600 for these tickets, reported Dainik Jagran. There have been reports that a sleeper ticket for Lucknow has been sold for Rs 900. This is an example of black marketing of tickets. A similar case was in Nashik where labourers were being forced to pay more. Seeing this some municipal corporations collected funds to pay for them. The debate of who will pay the ticket fare is costing the labourers a lot. Railways said that the 85 per cent of the ticket fare will be paid by them and remainder by state governments. This doesn't seem to be happening. 

Chhattisgarh's weekend lockdowns 

To keep the spread of coronavirus in check, Bhupesh Baghel-led Chhattisgarh government has decided that the state will observe complete lockdown on Saturdays and Sundays in the month of May, reported Dainik Bhaskar. During this period, vegetables, milk, medicines will be available but other businesses will be shut. Liquor shops will remain closed as well. The liquor shops will remain open till 3 pm only on weekdays. This was done after the crowd at liquor shops kept increasing. All the local authorities have been directed to strictly enforce the lockdown on the weekend. The state will also demarcate the zones (red, orange and green) on a weekly basis. 

Waiting to get home

Migrant workers in Punjab were left with no option but to travel on foot and reach their villages in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Their employers did not pay them and provide them with food, reports Dainik Bhaskar. When they reached the UP-Haryana border in Yamunanagar, they were stopped by the authorities. Most of these workers were from UP who were employed in different factories in Jalandhar, Ludhiana, and Kalaamb. The workers alleged that the Punjab police and their employers were forcing them to leave. The local authorities have made arrangements for them to stay in schools and also have arranged for food and water. Over 100,000 have registered for travel back to their home town. In an act of kindness, CM Manohar Lal Khattar talked to a worker via video call and assured him of all kinds of support. He even said that there would be no issues when they reach Bihar and they will get food and water at regular intervals. 

A new patient in every 37 minutes

Haryana has reported 45 new cases in the last 24 hours, 18 of which belong to Gurgaon, reported Dainik Bhaskar. In the week gone by, Haryana found a new case in every 37 minutes. The total cases reported last week were 275. The recovery rate has dropped from 70 per cent to 43 per cent. The state has over 600 positive cases, with 103 from Gurgaon. 70 people in Jhajhar are contaminated. On the bright side, 1,784 reports have come negative. The government is testing 1,707 people for every million people. 

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