'We never spoke about charging migrant workers'

Updated: May 05, 2020, 07:57 IST | Agencies | New Delhi

Centre claims 85 per cent of the transportation cost is borne by the railways and 15 per cent by state governments

A man wearing a facemask walks past a graffiti of a Coronavirus during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown, in Mumbai on Monday. Pic/AFP
A man wearing a facemask walks past a graffiti of a Coronavirus during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown, in Mumbai on Monday. Pic/AFP

The government has not talked about charging anything from migrant labourers as 85 per cent of the transportation cost is borne by the railways and 15 per cent by state governments, the Centre said on Monday amid a row over the national transporter allegedly charging the workers for ferrying them home during the COVID-19-induced lockdown. The government also said the process of transporting the stranded migrant labourers was being coordinated by states "except for one or two states".

Asked if the migrant labourers were being charged for being ferried home, Joint Secretary at the Health Ministry, Lav Agarwal said that as far as migrant labourers are concerned, the guidelines have clearly stated that under the infectious disease management one should stay where he or she is.

"Based on the request given from states for particular cases, permission was given to run special trains. Be it government of India or the Railways, we have not talked about charging from workers. Eighty-five per cent of the transportation cost is borne by the Railways, while states have to bear 15 per cent of the cost," he told the media.

At the daily briefing on the COVID-19 situation, Agarwal also said that in the last 24 hours, 1,074 COVID-19 patients have recovered, the highest number of recoveries in one day. The recovery rate stands at 27.52 per cent with 11,706 COVID-19 patients cured till now, he said. Agarwal said in the last 24 hours, 2,553 Novel Coronavirus cases were reported, taking the number of overall cases to 42,533.

India on its way back to normalcy

. Life was limping back to normalcy in most parts of Karnataka with easing of COVID-19- induced restrictions on Monday as the state headed into the third phase of lockdown started since March 24.

. West Bengal has the highest mortality rate in the country at 12.8 per cent, Inter Ministerial Central Team leader Apoorva Chandra wrote in his final observations to state Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha, before leaving for Delhi on Monday.

. Electricians, plumbers, part-time house helps and other workers took tentative steps back to work on Monday as large parts of India, including the national capital, entered the third phase of the lockdown with curbs eased in some places.

. Kerala on Monday opened its borders at six places for Keralites stranded in other states due to the COVID-19 lockdown to return to their native place. The government through an order issued earlier had designated six entry points for receiving the stranded persons from other states to enter Kerala.

Migrants pelt stones at cops in Gujarat

Hundreds of migrant workers seeking to return home clashed with the police and pelted stones at them near a village in Gujarat's Surat district on Monday, following which the security personnel lobbed teargas shells and baton-charged the agitated workers, an official said. Besides, several labourers also came out on a road in Rajkot demanding that they be sent back to their hometowns, while some migrant workers got their heads tonsured in an area of Surat after being unable to go back home.

Section 144 extended in Noida area

The Noida district administration has extended Section 144 of the CrPC till May 17 in Gautam Buddha Nagar, with relaxations in the lockdown subject to certain restrictions. The police shared some information on the relaxations through tweets. A notification was issued by Gautam Buddh Nagar Deputy Commissioner of Police, Ashutosh Dwivedi, stating that "the home ministry has issued detailed guidelines to prevent spread of Coronavirus.

BSF hdqs sealed after staff tests positive

Two floors of the BSF headquarters in Delhi have been sealed after a staff member was tested positive for COVID-19, officials said. The eight-storeyed BSF head office is located in the CGOs complex on Lodhi road that also houses the CRPF headquarters. "A head constable of the BSF working in the force headquarters has been found COVID-19 positive," a BSF spokesperson said on Monday.

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