Centre directed states to seal boarders to stop movement of people across cities

New Delhi: The Centre on Sunday directed the states to strictly follow the nationwide lockdown norms and stop the movement of people across the cities, advising them to arrange shelter, food and other facilities for migrant labourers at their workplace.

The direction came amid mass exodus of migrant labourers from cities to their villages in different states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced nationwide lockdown to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission.

Noting that there has been movement of migrant workers in some parts of the country, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba through video conferencing with officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs, state Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police on Sunday morning decided to “seal” the district and state borders.

“Directions were issued that district and state borders should be effectively sealed and states were directed to ensure there is no movement of people across cities or on highways,” said a government statement.

“Only movement of goods should be allowed. District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police should be made personally responsible for implementation of these directions which have been issued under the Disaster Management Act.

It has been advised that adequate arrangements for food and shelter of poor and needy people, including migrant labourers be made at the place of their work.

The Centre had on Saturday issued orders for use of “SDRF (State Disaster Relief Funds) for the purpose”.

Referring that “sufficient funds are available with states in the SDRF head, the Cabinet Secretary advised states to ensure timely payment of wages to labourers at their place of work during the 21-day “period of lockdown without any cut”.

It was ordered that house rent should not be demanded from the labourers for this period and action should be taken against those who are asking labourers or students to vacate the premises.

“Those who have violated the lockdown and travelled during the period of lockdown will be subject to a minimum of 14 days of quarantine in government quarantine facilities. Detailed instructions on monitoring of such persons during quarantine have been issued to states,” Cabinet Secretary instructed.

“It was impressed upon all the States that three weeks of strict enforcement is essential to contain the spread of coronavirus. This is in the interest of everyone.”

It was noted that, by and large, there has been effective implementation of guidelines across all states and Union Territories (UTs). “Essential supplies have also been maintained. Situation is being monitored round the clock and necessary measures are being taken as required.”

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