Under Centre’s directive, Mizoram government to provide food and shelter for migrant workers

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The Mizoram government will be providing food and shelter to migrant workers who are stranded in the state due to the nationwide lockdown over coronavirus threat, 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 migrant workers during the 21-day lockdown period, he said.

The official also said that the Union Home Ministry 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 sector in their respective areas. Expenses for the
relief measures would be borne from the state exchequer which would be later recovered from State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF), he also said.

“Respective district level task forces on COVID-19 will provide food and
shelter to migrant workers, industrial and unorganised sectors workers,” he
said. Meanwhile, sources said that thousands of migrant workers, contractors and unorganised sector workers mostly from Assam are stranded in Mizoram due to lockdown. Police said that the actual figure is yet to be determined as compilation is under process.

As per the latest information, about 940 migrant workers have reported to the state government. Of these, 697 people are based in Kolasib district bordering Assam, 136 people in Aizawl district, 47 in Serchhip district and 30 each in Hnahthial and Mamit districts.

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

State governments have been also advised to give wide publicity and awareness, using public information system, technology and utilising the service of volunteers, NGOs, to precise information on location of the relief camps and the facilities being made available, and relief package under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana and measure being taken by the state governments.

The Centre also advised state governments 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.

It may be noted that even before the Centre’s directive, the Mizoram government as well as local volunteers and NGOs have been providing essential commodities and food items to migrant workers who are stranded in different parts of the state, according to officials. Sources also said that truck drivers who transported essential commodities from outside that state are provided with food and other edible items on the way at Vairengte near Assam border and other parts of the state.