BJP and JDU leaders are concerned over the huge number of migrants who are likely to return in the next few days. While arrangements have been made in virtually every district to quarantine these people for 14-21 days, there is a fear that some of those coming by road or in trains may be carrying the virus and this may flare up the numbers. The poor health facilities, very few ventilators and testing kits means the state will not be able to cope in case the pandemic spreads there in the coming weeks. The state lacks good hospitals and medical experts.
Bihar has seen 696 Covid-19 positive cases and six deaths.
“The prime minister had appealed to everybody to stay where they are. The Bihar chief minister was of the same view but people did not listen. The states where these migrants were employed also did not feed them, leaving them with no option but to come to their home state,” JDU leader KC Tyagi said.
According to government estimates, there are more than 2.9 million Bihari migrants in various states.
However, the two parties are trying to work together and avoid any blame game. “Nitish Kumar has good experience in handling the annual Kosi floods and the same model is being used. Similar camps have been set up in the state where each migrant is given a bed, some utensils, a gamchha (towel). They are being given three meals a day and ₹500 when they leave the quarantine facility. Social distancing of one metre is maintained between beds,” a BJP MP said.
Another leader claimed fare incurred by migrants in reaching the state is also being reimbursed and some rations are given to the person/family. Another leader said ₹1,000 has been transferred to the accounts of many poor people. “The numbers of infected persons in Bihar is low but then not much testing is being done. The migrants will definitely swell the numbers,” a senior BJP leader said.
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