Soon after the Uttar Pradesh government had started sending buses to bring back stranded migrant workers to their hometowns, the state government’s Maharashtra helplines received nearly one lakh calls for evacuation, The Times of India has reported.
The UP government has started bringing back workers hailing from the state who were stranded in other parts of the country due to the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, and the first batch of workers was brought back in 82 buses from Haryana on April 25.
Within 24 hours, helpline operators in Maharashtra received 97,754 calls, Ranjan Kumar, the state nodal officer, told the publication. The state’s Delhi helplines received around 45,000 calls in the same period of time, said the report.
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This number is after elimination of duplicate calls but there could be overlaps, said the report citing officials. Of these calls for evacuation, some are also from residents of neighbouring states - particularly Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
According to an estimate given in the report, there could still be up to 10 lakh people in each region who want to come back to their hometowns. The estimate is based on the capacity of shelter homes, assessments by local administrations and state coordination groups and estimates shared by callers who live in rented houses, said the report.
The huge number of calls indicates that any subsequent evacuation will bring a “logistical challenge” in front of the UP government, which will be much bigger than the Haryana operation, the report suggested.
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Taking note of the huge number of migrant workers in Mumbai Metropolitan Region and National Capital Region, their evacuation is not likely to start before May 3, the last day of the extended lockdown. “Delhi-NCR and Maharashtra are the big concern areas and need strategic planning,” a senior state government official told the publication.
In Delhi, migrant workers in big economic centres like Gurugram, Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad. In Noida alone, there are one lakh migrant workers from other districts of UP, the report estimated.Follow our full coverage on COVID-19 here.