The Bihar government has said that the migrant workers returning to the state today onward, June 2, will not be registered or quarantined. Migrants who returned till Monday, June 1, have been registered and quarantined in over 5,000 centres. Around 13 lakh migrants are among them.
On June 15, as the 14-day quarantine of the last batch of registered migrants ends, the quarantine centres will be shut.
While there will be a medical desk at every railway station to treat those who are unwell, thermal screening at the stations is set to be discontinued.
This decision of the state government comes at a time when several migrant workers returning to Bihar tested positive for coronavirus. In fact, out of 3,872 confirmed cases in the state, 2,743 are migrant workers who have returned after May 3.
"We have carried out the biggest-ever evacuation exercise by bringing back over 30 lakh migrants. We are closing registration on Monday evening. In any case, maximum people have returned," Indian Express quoted the principal secretary at Bihar's Disaster Management Authority, Pratyaya Amrit, as saying.
Amrit confirmed that medical facilities would remain the same from primary health centres to Level I and Level II hospitals. Further, door-to-door health monitoring would continue.
"Foreign experts have concluded that home quarantine is the best quarantine. Yet, we have run quarantine centres giving migrants all kinds of facilities, including reimbursement of train and bus fare and necessary items kit worth Rs 1,000," said Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi.
The government's decision, however, is being criticised by opposition parties.
"At a time when infection has been on the rise, there was urgency to run these quarantine centres for those coming from danger-zone states. All those coming back now would mingle with the population and would further threaten to spread infection," said AICC secretary Chandan Yadav.
Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav said, "When people have been dying of COVID-19 infection and hunger and are still walking back home, the NDA has been thinking of election in Bihar. The BJP is planning a digital rally on June 9. This alone shows the insensitivity of the state government."