Gandhinagar, March 26 (IANS) Ignoring all the health concerns and precautions and the sealing of state borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Gujarat government on Wednesday facilitated hundreds of migrant labourers, who could be prospective carriers of coronavirus, to return to their homes in Rajasthan in state provided buses.
"Our Chief Secretary Anil Mukim called up his Rajasthan counterpart this morning and told him that labourers from Rajasthan are quite in numbers in Gujarat and they want to return back home. So we are sending them and you will have to accept them. After he said yes, we just facilitated these workers and labourers to return to Rajasthan in buses," state Labour and Employment Minister Dilip Thakor told IANS.
Asked if this wasn't a thing of concern and against the lockdown's intentions that such prospective careers of virus be herded in crowds to Rajasthan, Thakor said: "What can we do? They don't understand. It is the same situation everywhere, whether it is Gujarat or whether it is Rajasthan. What can the government do? If we do this, then they will complain, if we do that then also they will complain."
"We facilitated buses for them and before sending them, arranged for their breakfast and lunch. After they had lunch, we sent them in large numbers in buses facilitated by us to Rajasthan border," he added.
The minister was unable to reply as to how many buses were facilitated for the purpose, only saying "many".
Around 5,000-6,000 construction and other workers and migrant labourers, despite any sort of transportation means, walked back to their home, unaware of the fact that they might be taking along with them the dreaded coronavirus
"We tried to make them understand and convince them that the state government will look after them and they need not move anywhere from their present dwellings but these labourers, being uneducated and having a typical mindset, were not ready to listen. They just started moving home. Even right now, many of them have started evacuating their present accommodation and started moving towards their homes," said Vipul Pandya, the general secretary, Bandhkam Majdur Sangathan, Gujarat.