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Published On: Mon, Apr 27th, 2020

Formulate a uniform policy for bringing back people to states: Nitish

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CMNitishKumar1PATNA: Nitish Kumar is rattled and made it obvious today with his outburst at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s video conference with Chief Ministers on the coronavirus lockdown.
The Bihar Chief Minister, who was unabashedly critical of various states evacuating students from Rajasthan’s Kota — now even migrant labourers — went to great lengths to demonstrate that he was only following the law.
When it was his turn to speak, Nitish Kumar read out a page from the Disaster Management Act, which bans interstate movement of vehicles and people except for extreme medical emergencies. He questioned why migrants should be allowed to move between state borders at this time.
“If five people come on the road and make demands then should the government buckle? Is this the way governments run,” he questioned. The students in Kota were from wealthy families, he said, wondering what hardships they were facing.

“We are implementing this order and violation of this is illegal, but several states have taken the liberty to bring back students and migrants with impunity, so please have a uniform policy,” the Bihar Chief Minister reportedly told PM Modi. “10,000 students were brought out of Kota, which put a lot of pressure on states.”

Nitish Kumar, a key BJP ally, had protested strongly when Yogi Adityanath’s government in Uttar Pradesh became the first to send buses to bring back 300 students from Kota, a coaching hub where students from across the country go to prepare for competitive exams. Thousands of students were stranded in the town after the country went into lockdown last month.
After Yogi Adityanath, many other Chief Ministers decided to arrange for their students’ return and Nitish Kumar, who had called it “injustice to lockdown”, suddenly became the odd one out. Last Friday, BJP-ruled UP also declared it would try to bring back migrant labourers, who are stuck in the lockdown without jobs or shelter.
At today’s meeting, Nitish Kumar made it clear that he didn’t have the resources to send buses for students and migrants, but that he would not come in the way if the centre did allow it and ensured that all entering Bihar were medically examined. He also said there should be no discrimination, given that students were stranded in several parts of the country, not just Kota.
Earlier, his Jharkhand counterpart Hemant Soren put out similar arguments against allowing the homewards movement of students and migrants, saying it completely defeated the purpose of the lockdown.
“Over 5,000 students from Jharkhand are in other states and stuck because of the lockdown. More than 5 lakh of our workers want to come back, but we are helpless because the Disaster Management Act is in place and my government will not do anything that goes against the law,” Mr Soren wrote in a letter yesterday.
(NDTV)

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