NEW DELHI: The Union home ministry on Tuesday, in a strongly worded letter to the states, reminded them to assist migrant workers reach home safely.
The reminder followed reports of hundreds of migrants making their way back to their homes, on foot.
In a letter written by Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla, the Centre instructed district administrations to "request Ministry of Railways for running trains where required and ensure that no migrant worker has to resort to walking on roads or railway tracks to reach his destination."
Bhalla reiterated that the railway ministry and states must coordinate proactively to operate more special trains and "arrangements be made by states for designated rest places....sanitation, food and health."
District authorities have also been instructed to guide migrant workers to nearby bus terminals and train stations should they be found walking. Additionally, states have been asked to not stop buses carrying migrant workers at inter-state borders.
On 17 May, Bhalla had written to states instructing relevant authorities to urge migrants to take Shramik Special trains.
"In case they are found in such conditions, they should be taken to nearby shelters, appropriately counseled and provided food and water till such time they are facilitated to board the shramik special trains or buses to their native places," Bhalla had said.
Amid the novel coronaviurs outbreak in the country, Indian Railways have been running 'Shramik Special' trains to transport stranded migrants, hit the worst by the pandemic and resultant lockdown. Until 13 May, it had run 642 such trains helping 7.90 lakh passengers reach their home states, the government said.