Amid thousands of migrants being forced to walk to their hometowns in different states due to the coronavirus lockdown, the Odisha government has started buses to pick these migrant workers and drop them to inter-state borders.
According to reports, thousands of migrants have taken to the road in a bid to reach their hometowns. A majority of these workers are passing through Odisha from states like Andhra Pradesh to reach Bihar or West Bengal.
"Till 18.5.2020, 5.00 PM, Odisha Police arranged 222 trips by bus to transport over 8,000 such migrant labourers of other states using Odisha for transit only. Odisha Police is also running kitchens to feed migrant labour of all types. The biggest such kitchen in Bhadrak is feeding 4,000 people per day," the government said in a statement.
"We have a well-oiled system to pick up migrants from borders of the source state and drop them to borders of destination states. There are well-laid down SOPs for migrants hailing from Odisha coming back home. But there is a vacuum as far as migrants transiting through Odisha on foot is concerned," a senior Odisha government official was quoted by The Indian Express.
The official said that a dynamic bus transit system has been started through which police stations on roads and highways make migrants walking on the road take the buses to reach interstate borders.
The official added for the last four days, the Odisha Police has been providing buses from important Border Check Points like Soliela, Girisola, and Kerada to take the migrant workers to the border points of their destination state. Buses are also being provided at intermediate points like Khordha, Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Jajpur, Bhadrak, etc
"However, before such buses were provided (from BCPs) some migrant labours had already left on foot. So all roadside police stations have been alerted to assist such migrant labour and inform District Control Room who can co-ordinate with other districts and BCPs. The number and route of buses are dynamic, depending on demand," the statement said.