The cases of coronavirus infection in India have reached beyond one lakh. The death toll continues to exceed three thousand per day. In such grim situation, the inter-state migration is leading to surfacing of coronavirus even in the orange and green zones. Also the fourth phase includes reopening of some shops in some states that has given allowance to workers to re-migrate and rejoin their workplaces in metropolitan cities. Will this result in increase in infected cases? Though, migration in itself has become an issue to some extend as all states observe a hype in coronavirus positive case.
Infection cases have increased.
Amidst all this, the migrant laborers continue to return to their respective villages and districts. Since May 3, the statistics of infection in the states are coming up, many cases of migrants are also there. Cases of infection have increased even in those states which were declared in green and orange zones.
There is no accurate data on how many migrant laborers have returned to their homes by walking on the road, laden in trucks and trolleys, but according to the PIB report, in the last 19 days, the Indian Railways has given more than 21.5 lakhs through Shramik Special Train Migrants have been transported to their home-states. Apart from this, some states have also arranged for buses for the return of migrant laborers.
While this decision of the Central Government and the State Governments is a news of relief for the migrants who have been forced to travel hundreds of kilometers on foot, the return of migrant laborers has increased the risk of infection in their home states.
In many states like Bihar, Odisha, Rajasthan, cases of infection have increased due to the return of migrants. This mass migration has resulted in risk of increase of fatal infection as the returned migrants have been tested positive.
Bihar’s top health officer Sanjay Kumar has claimed that out of all the cases of coronavirus infection reported in Bihar since the beginning of May, 70 percent of the cases are related to migrant laborers.
Concerning a press release issued by the Bihar Health Department on May 20, out of the total migrant laborers returned to Bihar after May 3, 788 migrant have been found coronavirus positive.
Nearly 1,91,925 expatriates have returned to Odisha from May 3 to May 19.
To the last 24-hour data released by the health department of the state government on May 20, out of 74 people who tested positive, 72 cases are related to migrant laborers.
The statistics of Rajasthan shows us the same results. So far, nearly six and a half lakh migrants have returned to the state, and out of these, by May 20, the corona test of 946 migrants has been found positive.
Some of the migrants who have returned to West Bengal have also been confirmed to be infected.
India overhauled China in this case regardint the number of Coronavirus cases, the situation remains questionable as the lockdown is prolonged since 25th March.
Where is the decrease in government strategy?
In such a situation, the question arises that the policy of the government to control the transition from the lockdown strategy will now be left to the extreme? After all, why is the government not able to find a solution to the problem of migrants? Many of the workers were reaching their hometown without following the norm of ‘social distancing’, many of them died and some are believed to be infected as well.
Nitin Kulkarni, Health Secretary, Government of Jharkhand, says that it cannot be denied that cases of infection have increased due to the return of migrants.
He says, “In Jharkhand, we have almost completely managed the situation, but since May 3, migrants have started returning. We have had a sudden increase in infection cases here.”
Citing the data of May 20, he says that 33 new cases have come up today and all these cases are related to migrants. He says that there are about 110 cases of infection in the state which are of migrants.
However, Nitin does not comment on the central government’s policy on migrants.
He says, “This is not the time when we should discuss these things. What is to be done now is that the matters are coming up systematically.”
So were the states ready for it?
In response to this question, Nitin says “It is not a matter of getting ready, but everyone knew that one day the migrant will return. How many days someone can be stopped.” So what are the state governments doing to deal with this situation and will any solution be found?
Nitin says “There is no solution to this right now. The first thing that will be done is that those who are returning should be disinfected. Quarantined.”
But Nitin expresses concern about the fact that only a few special trains are coming, but now that it has been announced that there will be regular trains, it may be difficult to keep records in the coming time.
So are we moving towards the other phase?
Nitin only gives such an answer that nothing can be said right now, whatever will happen in the coming time will be clear.
Swaraj Party President Yogendra Yadav says on the growing question of infection when migrants arrived in the states, “If the lockdown started, if the government allows the train to run at the same time and arrange for people to leave, then there is a possibility of infection at that time. At that time the infection was close to 500, but now that the cases of infection have crossed one lakh, the risk of infection has increased two hundred times. But if and when this is implemented later, the danger will increase further. “
Yogendra Yadav says “The government has left no option for itself because of its initial and first wrong step.”
However, former Home Secretary Balmiki Prasad Singh says that it is not that the government did not work under the strategy. He says, “The government’s strategy was that the migrant laborers and other people should stay there and not go out. And the government should make arrangements for them. But the government’s strategy of returning, dashed the government’s strategy ahead of it. It was done. After that it was decided to send people. But at that time why did people not see the possibility that when people return it will be a large number and after that you do not have any strategy. Not be able to return.”
Balmiki Prasad Singh says, “Now you have to go with what you have and then you have to stabilize. Governments are like that. Everywhere there are some mistakes. But sometimes in such cases it is difficult to foresee. No solution. Now all you have to do is to face it. “
So should not the workers have had time to return before the first lockdown was announced. In response to this question, Balmiki Prasad Singh says, “It should not be called a mistake. Sometimes the things that are said on accidental occasions affect and in this case also happened.”
Former Home Secretary Balmiki Prasad Singh believes that we have to find a solution in the situation now. He says “Now the most important thing is to be tested, quarantined, because the path taken now cannot be changed. The path we are on now needs to be pursued wisely.”
Though Coronvirus is predicted to grow through the inter-state migration of workers, what would be saved when the fourth lockdown includes opening a few shops as well, the thin line between saving the economy and people has started to fade away resulting in chaotic situation of surfacing of the virus again.