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New Delhi, April 29, 2020
The Central Government today permitted the inter-state movement of stranded people by road in a major relaxation of the restrictions imposed as part of the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As a result of the lockdown, first imposed on March 25 for 21 days until April 14 and then extended by 19 days from April 15 to May 3, tens of thousands of people, including migrant workers, students, pilgrims, tourists and others, had been stranded in different parts of India.
With flights, trains, bus services and private vehicles banned, these people were unable to return home and many of them faced enormous difficulties. In late March, the country witnessed the scenes of hundreds of migrant workers walking long distances to their homes in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, among other states, from places like Delhi.
Many state governments had, in the past many days, been urging the Centre to facilitate such movement of stranded people. States like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh had made arrangements to bring back home hundreds of students from their states who were stranded in Kota, Rajasthan, where there are several well-known coaching classes which prepare students for medical and engineering entrance examinations.
"They would be allowed to move between one State/ UT to another State/ UT, after the concerned states consult each other and mutually agree to (it)," a press release from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said here today.
"It has also been impressed upon that on arrival at their destination, such person(s) would be assessed by the local health authorities, and kept in home quarantine, unless the assessment requires keeping the person in institutional quarantine. They would be kept under watch with periodic health check-ups.
"For this purpose, States/UTs have been requested to encourage such persons to use Aarogya Setu app through which their health status can be monitored and tracked," the release added.
According to the order issued in this regard by the MHA today, all States and Union Territories (UTs) should designate nodal authorities and develop standard protocols for receiving and sending such stranded persons. The nodal authorities should also register the stranded persons within their States/UTs.
The moving person (s) would be screened and those found asymptomatic would be allowed to proceed, it said.
Buses wil be used for the transport of such groups of persons. The buses will be sanitized and shall follow safe social distancing norms in seating.
States and UTs on the transit route will allow the passage of such persons to the receiving State/UT.