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Uddhav government turns blind eye to migrants leaving sans permission as exodus from Maharashtra continues

As per Maharashtra government records, more than 10 lakh migrants were stranded in the state. However, the number of migrant workers leaving Mumbai has been unofficially pegged as high as 25-30 lakh.

Published: 16th May 2020 08:18 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2020 09:10 PM   |  A+A-

Migrants gather outside Dharavi slums to take buses to reach a railway station and board a special train to their native places during the ongoing COVID-19 nationwide lockdown in Mumbai Friday May 15 2020. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

MUMBAI: The exodus of migrant workers continues unabated from the Mumbai metropolitan region that includes Thane, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan, Panvel etc.

As per Maharashtra government records, more than 10 lakh migrants were stranded in various parts of the state. However, the number of migrant workers leaving Mumbai has been unofficially pegged as high as 25-30 lakh.

2.45 lakh migrant workers have left Mumbai and other locations in the state by train. Bihar and West Bengal were initially reluctant to take back migrants but NCP chief Sharad Pawar then had a word with the Chief Ministers, said home minister Anil Deshmukh.

“Pawar personally phoned Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee and Nitin Kumar and now they have given the green signal. The Maharashtra government has sanctioned Rs 54 crore from the Chief Minister's relief fund for the train ticket fare for the migrants and the amount has been disbursed to all 36 district collectors,” said Deshmukh.

191 special trains filled with migrant workers have left Mumbai in the last few days. 117 have left for Uttar Pradesh, nine for Rajasthan, 26 for Bihar, three for Karnataka, 21 for Madhya Pradesh, seven for Odisha, five for Jharkhand, two for Jammu and one for Andhra Pradesh.

Maharashtra Congress president and revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat said Gujarat is refusing to take their own people. “We have not yet got any clearance from Gujarat to take their own people. We are pursuing the matter and expect to resolve it as early as possible,” Thorat said.

However, unofficially the state government has asked the police not to halt any trucks, tempos and autos that are carrying migrant workers even if they have no travel permission.

“Every day, more than 2000 trucks, 1000 tempos, 500 auto and taxis crammed with migrant workers are leaving Mumbai. Some of them are going on motorcycles and a few are also walking. The numbers could be between 25 to 30 lakh,” said a Shiv Sena minister requesting anonymity.

Nawab Malik of the Maha Vikas Aghadi confirmed the exodus saying migrant workers in Mumbai fear they will contract COVID-19 if they remain. He also said there is no work happening due to the lockdown so they want to go back to their home states as early as possible.

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