Bihar migrant workers, Bihar corona cases: Faced with a huge migrant influx, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has reiterated his assurance that the state government is working on measures to generate employment opportunities for those returning home in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. He said that all those who have returned during the Covid-19 lockdown, will be given jobs in the state and that they need not go out of the state to earn their livelihood.
Slamming all those who had used the term ‘migrants’ for workers, Kumar said referring to them as ‘migrants’ detaches them from the idea of nationality. Kumar said, according to him, whoever lives in India irrespective of the fact whether he moves within the limits of the country, is not a migrant.
“People going from one state to the other are being called ‘pravasi’ (migrant). Why? This is one country, there is one nationality. A person going from one place to the other in the country is not a migrant. If they go outside the country then they are,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“People who have returned from other states do not need to leave because of helplessness. So, arrangements for employment are being made for them. All the concerned departments are working on it,” the Chief Minister, facing a barrage of criticism from the opposition ranks for not properly handling the movement of people, said.
The state has seen a huge influx of people after the Centre allowed movement of stranded people in different states. Daily wagers and students are among others who have returned to the state. According to Disaster Management Departments Principal Secretary Pratyaya Amrit, between May 4 and 31 an estimated 29 lakh migrants have reached Bihar so far.
Kumar also lashed out at states for not taking care of stranded people of Bihar in their cities.
“They had been working in other states. It was the responsibility of states where they worked to look after them. That did not happen. Most of them were forced to return home,” he said.
Kumar also highlighted the steps taken by his government to tide over the Coronavirus-induced crisis. He said that the state has spent around Rs 8,500 crore.
“Rs 5,300 has been spent on each quarantine person,” the CM said, adding that the Centre has deposited Rs 1,500 in each Jan Dhan account of women and provided free gas cylinders.
Meanwhile, the state government has ended the mandatory registration of migrants returning to the state. ALso, they need not to stay at the quarantine centres for 14 days. The state has also discontinued the thermal screening of migrants at railway stations but there will be a medical desk at every station to facilitate treatment to those unwell.
The state has reported a high number of coronavirus positive cases among migrant workers. The health department’s data shows 75% migrants who returned home have tested positive for coronavirus.
Bihar has reported 4,273 cases so far. Of these, 3,079 are migrants.