The Uttar Pradesh government has begun bringing back state's native workers stranded elsewhere in the country amid the COVID-19 lockdown and has ensured the return of 2,224 of them in the first phase, a senior official said on Saturday.
Briefing reporters here, Additional Chief Secretary (Home and Information) Awanish Awasthi said the first batch of workers was brought back in 82 buses from Haryana on Saturday, and 11,000 workers will return by Sunday. All the workers will be kept in 14-day quarantine.
“Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had issued directions to bring back labourers belonging to UP from other states in a phased manner,” he said.
“In this regard, on Saturday as many as 2,224 labourers were brought back in 82 buses from Haryana. These labourers hail from 16 districts of western UP,” said Awasthi.
Orders have been issued to prepare shelter homes in the state in a major way so that the returnees can be quarantined there. “Instructions have been issued to install public address system at the shelter homes, and make arrangements for food and toilets,” said Awasthi.
It has also been directed that once the quarantine period of labourers returning from other states ends, preparations should be made to provide them employment near their village, the official said.
Migrant workers in several states have demanded that they be sent back to their native places as many, especially daily-wagers, were facing financial hardships after a lockdown was imposed from 25 March to check the spread of coronavirus.
The additional chief secretary (Home and Information) said 4,23,231 unskilled workers are working in 44,478 schemes in 18,823 village panchayats.
“Apart from this around 10,000 labourers are engaged in construction work of three expressways in UP. As many as 63 schemes of the Irrigation Department and 173 of the Public Works Department have also started functioning,” he said.
Talking of the total COVID-19 hotspot zones and people living in them, Awasthi said a total of 389 localities have been declared hotspot or containment zones in the state.
“These 389 hotspot zones have a total of 6,24,978 houses located therein with as many as 35,78,339 people living in them, he said. The total count of COVID-19 positive cases from these hotspots is 1,373,” Awasthi added.
Awasthi also said that the state government is keeping a close eye on fake news. So far, 528 cases of fake news have come up, and the cyber cell has been informed about it.
Awasthi also said, “2,896 people from Tablighi Jamaat have been identified, and their testing has been done. All the 325 foreigners have been quarantined after testing. FIR has been lodged against 45 members of the Tablighi Jamaat, and 259 passports have been seized.”