COVID-19: Naveen wants to bring back Odisha migrants

State government to provide Rs 2,000 incentive to those who complete 14-day quarantine

By Priya Ranjan Sahu
Published: Monday 20 April 2020

The Odisha government was preparing a road map to bring back migrant workers stuck in other states after lockdown restrictions were lifted, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on April 19, 2020. The nationwide lockdown was invoked by the Union government to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Several thousands of the state's citizens— including migrant workers, professionals, students and patients — were stranded in other states, said Patnaik.

“We will discuss the matter (of bringing workers back) with the central and concerned state governments,” Patnaik said in a video message to the people of Odisha.

The state government would bear all expenses to ensure citizens who were stranded in other states returned comfortably.

“Those returning from outside would be required to register at the gram panchayat level. Their relatives and friends can also register on their behalf,” said Patnaik.

A 14-day quarantine would be necessary for those who returned, he said, adding that facilities with free food and accommodation will be made available.

The state government will also provide an incentive of Rs 2,000 to each individual who completed the quarantine process.

“The mandatory quarantine is for the benefit of the returnees, their families and society as a whole,” Patnaik said.

Efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 were going on at the gram panchayat level, according to Patnaik.

Village heads were given the power of district collectors by the Odisha government as part of its fight against the disease at the grassroot level.

Over 72,000 migrant workers from other states — stranded in Odisha after the lockdown was imposed — were provided food and accommodation through 2,583 relief camps organised by the state government.

The government termed the migrants ‘guest workers’.

The state so far tested 10,641 samples, out of which 68 were found to be positive. One person died in the state after the outbreak.

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