"Injustice": Nitish Kumar On UP Sending Buses For Students Amid Lockdown
New Delhi: As 300 buses set out of Uttar Pradesh today to pick up thousands of students stranded in Kota in Rajasthan, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar called it "injustice" and against the principle of the nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The BJP government in Uttar Pradesh government has sent buses from Agra and Jhansi to Kota, the hub of coaching classes that attract students from across the country aspiring to study in engineering and medical colleges. Many students preparing for competitive exams have been stranded since the lockdown was announced last month.
But Nitish Kumar, a key BJP ally, was vocal about his objection to a move that he said would defeat the purpose of the lockdown at a time social distancing is critical and any gathering could spread the contagion.
"The way special buses are being sent to ferry students from Kota, it is injustice with the principle of the lockdown," said the Bihar Chief Minister.
His government has already taken up the subject in a formal letter to the central home ministry.
"This will open up a Pandora's box. If you allow students, on what grounds can you stop migrant labourers who are also stuck," Bihar Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar has said in the letter urging that special permits granted by the Rajasthan government be stopped.
Voicing concern about students returning in large numbers, at the risk of spreading the infection, Mr Kumar said coaching classes in Kota should be resumed in a staggered manner.
Many of the buses arrived in Kota this evening.
"The buses are being sent to bring back kids who are stuck in Kota. We are sending food, water bottles, masks and sanitisers. Each bus will be able to bring back 25 kids. Some buses will also be sent from Jhansi," a senior government official in Agra said.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said other states could also make arrangements to bring back their students.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday extended the lockdown to May 3. While the move is seen by many as crucial to prevent a spike in virus cases, it has left migrants across the country -- left without jobs or shelter -- even more desperate.
(Inputs and image from ndtv.com)
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