UP govt claims 27,000 buses deployed to ferry migrants as Cong offers help

Lockdown 4.0: Migrants at a government school to get screened before boarding buses for the Anand Vihar Railway Station to leave for their native places, in east Delhi. Photo: PTI
Amid the faceoff with Congress over the party’s offer to ply 1,000 buses for migrants, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government on Tuesday claimed to have deployed a fleet of nearly 27,000 buses to ferry the incoming labourers.

According to the government, while 12,000 buses belong to the roadways department, about 15,000 buses have been sourced by the respective district magistrates at the local level from private organisations.

Recently, UP Chief Minister Adityanath had ordered that 200 additional buses be arranged in each of the 75 districts apart from the roadways buses in view of the heavy influx of stranded workers from other states by trains and long route buses.

Recently, Congress general secretary in-charge of UP Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had sought permission to ply 1,000 buses at the Ghaziabad and Noida borders. Yesterday, the Adityanath government accepted the offer and sought details of the drivers and conductors of these buses, so that they could be deployed for the movement of labourers.

After Congress provided the list of the drivers, the state, in a rejoinder, sought the fitness certificates of each of the buses, driving licenses of drivers and details of the conductors as well.

In her earlier letter, Vadra noted that tens of thousands of migrants were coming back following lockdown, yet despite the tall claims of the UP government, they were on foot as there were no arrangements to ferry them to their native places.

Talking to a news channel, Adityanath also slammed Congress for allegedly playing politics on the migrant issue even during the Covid-19 crisis. The UP government has also alleged that the influx of migrants from Congress-ruled states like Rajasthan and Punjab was happening without proper arrangement and screening.

“The CM has directed for 100 per cent utilisation of the roadways buses apart from the private fleet at the local level,” UP additional chief secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi said here this evening adding there was no paucity of buses for workers.

The state has even requested Indian Railways to operate short-distance trains within UP to ferry workers from one place to another,’ he informed. The state is planning to facilitate the operation of intrastate trains from Agra, Ghaziabad, Jhansi, Mathura, Meerut, Saharanpur, Noida, Mahoba etc.

So far, 656 trains carrying nearly 852,000 labourers have returned to UP from states, mainly Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan.

Meanwhile, the state has given permission for plying 258 additional trains in the coming days, including from the North Eastern and Southern states, including Assam, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka.

The state has intensified night patrolling in the expressways and highways to curb the movement of migrants on trucks, on foot or other unauthorised vehicles, such as two/three-wheelers.

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