All district-level task forces have been instructed to monitor relief measures for migrant workers, industrial workers and others in their respective areas

Aizawl: The Mizoram government would provide food and shelter to migrant workers, who were stranded in the state due to the nationwide lockdown, a state home department official said on Monday.

The move was taken in pursuance to the Centre’s directive to provide food and shelter to the migrant workers during the 21-day lockdown, he said.

He said that the Union home ministry has authorised respective states to use disaster response fund (DRF) for providing relief measures to migrant workers during the nationwide lockdown in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the official, all district-level task forces were instructed to monitor relief measures for migrant workers, industrial workers and other workers of unorganised sectors in their respective areas.

Expenses for relief measures would be borne from the state exchequer, which would be later recovered from State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF), he said. “Respective district-level task force on COVID-19 will provide food and shelter to migrant workers, industrial and unorganised sectors workers,” he said.

Sources said that thousands of migrant workers, contractors and unorganised sector workers, a majority of them from Assam, were stranded in Mizoram due to lockdown. Police said that the actual figure is yet to be determined as compilation is under process.

As per latest information, about 940 migrant workers have reported to the state government.

Of these, 697 people were based in Kolasib district bordering Assam, 136 people in Aizawl district, 47 in Serchhip district and 30 each in Hnahthial and Mamit districts.

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Earlier, the Union home ministry had written to the states requesting them to immediately set up relief camps for migrant workers, who are returning to their domicile states during the lockdown period.

States have been advised to give wide publicity and awareness, using public information system, technology and utilising the services of volunteers and NGOs to provide information on location of the relief camps and the facilities being made available, and relief packages under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana and measures being taken by the state government.

The Centre also advised states to set up relief camps along national highways, including tented accommodation, to ensure that the moving migrant workers stay in their relief camps till the lockdown period is over.

Even before the Centre’s directive, the Mizoram government as well as local volunteers and NGOs are providing essential commodities and food items to migrant workers, who were stranded in different parts of the state, according to officials.

Sources also said that truck drivers, who transported essential commodities from outside that state were provided with food and other edible items on the way at Vairengte near Assam border and other parts of the state.

Sources also said that truck drivers from other states were reluctant to come to Mizoram after the state reported its first case of coronavirus on March 25. However, officials claimed that normalcy has been restored and supply of essential commodities is going smooth as usual.

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