By ARUN PRATAP SINGH
DEHRADUN, 27 Mar: For the past several days, media reports have been highlighting the plight of the Uttarakhand natives stranded outside the state and unable to return to their homes because there is no public transport available. Finally, the government today took serious note of the grave problem and announced some measures to provide needed relief to such people. Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat today sanctioned an amount of Rs 50 lakhs from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for food, lodging and assisting those who are stranded so that they are able to reach their destinations in Uttarakhand. It may be recalled that, due to the lockdown and even before that, all inter-state public transport had been shut down. All trains had been cancelled till 31 March with the objective of preventing the spread of the Novel Corona virus. This was later followed by the Janata Curfew and then the lockdown extending to the entire country. All these happened so rapidly, one after the other, that many of the daily wage earners, small self employed persons and those in temporary or contractual jobs were not only left without work but also stranded in big cities like Delhi and Mumbai. Many of them did not even have enough money in their pockets to allow them to survive and manage to stay put in the Metropolitan cities. Left without any option, a large number of migrants from Uttarakhand, UP, Bihar and Odisha started to walk to their respective states intending to cover hundreds of kilometres. Some hesitant steps were, of course, announced by the Uttarakhand Government in order to mitigate their suffering but these did not work out. For example, the mobile numbers of senior officers of Uttarakhand posted in Delhi were shared by the CM some days ago so that they could be contacted by those stranded in Delhi. However, not even one number was reachable for those who were stranded. In fact, this was cross-checked even by this correspondent and the allegations in this respect found to be true. Garhwal Post had, in fact, published a report in this regard. The national press based in Delhi continued to highlight the plight of those from various states of North India and stranded in Delhi. Finally, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat today announced some measures to provide immediate relief to those stranded in Delhi. The Chief Minister said it was the top priority of the state government to ensure that everyone from the state had access to food and lodging and that they were helped in reaching their respective destinations. Orders have been issued in this regard and funds have also been issued. It, however, remains to be seen how proactively the state government’s administrative machinery can act and provide immediate relief to those needing urgent help. It is even more necessary that these returnees undergo a medical protocol to ensure they do not take the Corona Virus to their homes and villages.