The challenge of stranded persons
Amid the nation-wide lockdown, the Government of India (GoI) has decided to allow migrant workers, tourists, students and other people stranded in different parts of the country have been to move to their respective destinations. The fresh guidelines have come as a relief not to the distressed stranded people but also to their families back home. Since the first lockdown, these stranded people, their near and dear ones and several political and social groups had been consistently asking the union government to resolve the issue without compromising WHO guidelines regarding containing the spread of Covid-19. Most of the stranded people are facing too many troubles as they have run out of money and even arranging a proper meal for themselves has become a big challenge. Given the pathetic condition of these stranded people, it is responsibility of the government to arrange free transport for these stranded people so that they can reach to their respective destination without any further problems as most of them have already exhausted their earnings. and it is imperative upon the government to provide them free transport. Back home, there are also large numbers of people from outside states stranded in Jammu and Kashmir. The Lt. Governor administration must ensure that they are sent back to their respective states at the earliest and Kashmiris stranded in Jammu, which is part of the same UT should also be brought back.
Though the GoI decision has been hailed by one and all, the bigger challenge that emerges now for all the states and UTs is that whether the respective administrations can ensure the entry and exit of stranded people without undermining the efforts to combat COVID-19. The union government has issued many dos and don’ts and it is now primarily responsibility of those areas from where these stranded make a move or where they reach. The respective administrations have to be extra vigilant and follow all the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The respective administrations have to ensure that every person, entering into the jurisdiction of a state or a UT, is screened properly. The sending and receiving states and UTs need to consult each other regularly and mutually agree to the movement by road. The moving persons are to be screened and those found asymptomatic would be allowed to proceed and while reaching their final destination, the screening process is to be followed and such passengers kept in home quarantine, unless the assessment requires keeping the persons in institutional quarantine. It is a big challenge and any laxity on the part of any state or UT administration would be a disaster which is to be avoided at any cost.