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Centre orders relief camps for migrant workers

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, March 28 - With tens of thousands of migrant workers walking down to their homes far way amid the coronavirus lockdown, the government on Saturday directed states and Union territories to immediately set up relief camps for them and carry out health check-ups.

Meanwhile, the total number of COVID-19 cases in India climbed to 918 on Saturday, while the death toll was 19, according to the Union Health Ministry. The total number of 918 cases in the country included 47 foreigners.

Deaths have so far been reported from Maharashtra (5), Gujarat (3), Karnataka (2), Madhya Pradesh (2) and one each from Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Punjab, Delhi, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.

Scenes of migrant workers walking endlessly and many trying to cram into buses to reach their destination were common in several parts of the country as the countrywide lockdown entered the fourth day.

With lakhs of these workers stranded on highways and inter-state bus terminuses, the government stepped in and asked states and Union territories to immediately set up relief camps for migrant workers and others who are returning to their home states or trying to do so during the nationwide lockdown period.

The Centre also asked the state governments and Union territory administrations to utilise state disaster response funds, to which Rs 29,000 crore has been allocated for the next fiscal, for providing food and shelter to migrant workers hit by the lockdown.

Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs Punya Salila Srivastava said the government has also asked the states and Union territories to set up camps for migrant workers fleeing cities and carry out their health check-ups.

During the day, several cases of violation of lockdown norms were also reported. � PTI

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