Press Trust of india

DMs to ensure that stranded migrants get food and shelter: MHA

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New Delhi: The Home Ministry has issued orders to the states and Union Territories to make it a personal responsibility of District Magistrates to arrange food and shelter for stranded workers waiting to reach their native places after announcement of lockdown in the wake of COVID-19.

Addressing a press conference on Monday, Joint Secretary of Union Home Ministry Punya Salila Srivastava said the ministry has already issued orders on Sunday asking landlords to not seek a month’s rent from migrant workers and also to not ask for vacating their property.

“As you know Home Secretary as Chairman of National Executive Committee exercising powers under Disaster Management Act had directed the states and UTs that DMs, Deputy Collectors and SPs should be given personal responsibility to ensure food and shelter for stranded workers,” she said.

Those who have reached their destination should be quarantined as per standard medical protocol, she said citing the March 29 order.

“The order says migrant people who have reached their destination should be kept at a nearby shelter in quarantine after proper screening as per standard medical procedures,” she said.

On those who violated the lockdown, Srivastava said she does not have the numbers.

“Wherever COVID-19 positive cases are being found action is taken as per standard medical protocol,” she said.

On the issue of police beating workers who are walking to their native places in the absence of transport, she said while clear instructions have been issued to states and UTs to enforce lockdown, the ministry has also asked that the police be sensitied.

“All employers should pay wages to their workers on due date without any deductions…Situation of migrant workers is in control. All states and UTs, with community participation are arranging relief, shelters food etc on war footing,” she said.

Asked about reports of a large number of people who participated in a religious gathering in a locality in the national capital being screened for the virus, Srivastava said, “No religious congregations are permitted as per March 24 order of Disaster Management Act.”

However, she did not make any specific comments about the reports.

The official said Home Ministry is doing 24X7 monitoring of lockdown along with state government.

“Lockdown guidelines are being mostly followed in states. Essential goods and services situation is satisfactory. Wherever problems are being reported control rooms are solving them,” she said.

Srivastava said Home Secretary who is the Chairman, National Executive Committee under Disaster Management Act, has constituted empowered groups for comprehensive action and integrated response.

“Seeing overall situation and participation of states, UTs and community, we are sure of ensuring success of lockdown to break COVID 19 chain,” she said.

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