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Don't try heading home, will provide facilities here: Kejriwal to migrants

Dont try heading home, will provide facilities here: Kejriwal to migrants

Hours after Mumbai witnessed a protest by migrant workers demanding arrangements to go home, the Delhi government swung into action, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the city's transport head urging people to not fall for rumours on availability of buses at the city's exit points.

Kejriwal issued a short video message, in which he requested migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and other states to stay back at least till May 3. The Delhi government will make all arrangements for them in terms of food and medicines, the CM said in his appeal.

Manisha Saxena, in charge of the transport commissioner's post, also issued a statement, saying: "It appears that some rumours are being spread that buses are available to go to the borders. No Delhi Transport Corporation or any other buses are available and lockdown is to be strictly observed."

The MHA had previously suspended Additinal Chief Secretary (Transport) Renu Sharma after the city had landed in a crisis with lakhs of migrants assembling at bus terminals like Anand Vihar, bordering Uttar Pradesh, a few days into the announcement of the nation-wide lockdown by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

With Mumbai's suburban Bandra (West) area witnessing a repeat of that situation earlier on Tuesday, the Delhi government activated its machinery to avert another crisis. Apart from Kejriwal and Saxena's appeals, Chief secretary Vijay Dev directed the special commissioners of police and the district magistrates to hit the ground to monitor the situation.

Around 3 pm, police caught a group of migrant labourers, who were ostensibly trying to leave the city, near the Mehrauli Badarpur Road in south Delhi. An officer said that they stopped over 55 labourers, who were carrying bags of wheat and rice. The men had come from South Delhi's Saidullajab, the officer added.

Kejriwal said people must remain disciplined and abide by the lockdown regulations. "The entire country needs to adhere to the restrictions together. We need to save our country, our families. This is about our lives," he said.

"Now if we don't follow the rules, our hardwork over the last three weeks will go to waste. I understand many of you are form UP, Haryana, Bihar. Perhaps some of you really want to go back. My appeal to you is please wait till May 3. Try and control your urge to head back. Otherwise there will be chaos," he said.

"We are here to fulfill all your needs and address difficulties. We are arranging food, medicines. Many people will try to spread rumours. Some might claim that they will take you to your village in exchange of money. No one can take you home. Some might say DTC buses are running. There are no DTC buses available. Some might claim buses of UP government are at the borders. There are no buses. Please do not fall for rumours," the CM said.

On the migrants found walking back in south Delhi, Atul Kumar Thakur, DCP (South) said, "We found the migrants and told them to stay indoors and not violate the lockdown. We called a bus and everyone was dropped home. They told us that they thought the lockdown was over. We guided them about the extension and counselled them."

Police said that the migrants hail from Bihar and "missed their families." A senior police officer said, "I was at the Saket picket when I saw them. We thought they were leaving because they have no food, but they told us they want to go back to their families and find a job there. We told them they would be risking their health by doing this. They understood us and returned."

(Inputs and image from theindianexpress.com)

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