After Initial Reluctance, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar Wants Special Trains To Bring Back Migrant Workers

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has done a volte face on bringing back migrant workers. Till yesterday, he was firmly against the move but today, he wants special trains to bring them back to Bihar. 

His deputy, Sushil Kumar Modi of the BJP, tweeted that the Centre must operate special trains to transport “migrants from distant places”. 

On April 14, a government order re-emphasised the ban on travel between states. However, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath sent buses to collect students from Kota, so did Bhupesh Baghel of Chhattisgarh

In all this, Nitish Kumar stood his ground saying it would be difficult to quarantine the returnees. In the last few days, 43 migrants who had returned to Bihar on their own tested positive for coronavirus. 

While his supporters justified Nitish Kumar’s reluctance given Bihar’s poor medical infrastructure and a migrant population of 120 million, he faced vehement criticism from his opponents. On Monday, in a video conference with the PM, Nitish Kumar said that the government must amend its order on intra-state movement of migrants; there has to be one principle for all states, he said, suggesting that he was not opposed to the travel of migrants but in need of the centre’s help in coordinating their journey home with precaution.

It may be noted that last night, the Centre said migrants can return home after being tested to determine that they are not infected. It also advised home states to quarantine them for 14 days upon their arrival. 

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