About 8 lakh migrant workers left Delhi after announcment of lockdown

In the first four weeks of lockdown, almost 800,000 migrant workers traveled from Delhi to their respective home states; at least half of them traveled in the first week. According to the Delhi government report, buses and other arrangements were made for migrant workers to avoid repeating last year’s crisis.

As per a report by the Hindustan Times, between April 19, when the lockdown was implemented to hinder the fourth wave of infections, on May 14, 807,032 passengers took buses from three interstate bus terminals (ISBTs) in Delhi to travel to other states. These buses were arranged by Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand governments, especially for laborers, along with the daily commuting buses from the terminals.

A weekend curfew in Delhi was converted into a complete lockdown for six days on April 19. During that time, the city was recording approximately 20,000 cases per day. Almost every third person tested came back positive, and hospitals were stormed with patients and were running out of oxygen and essential medications. After that, the lockdown has been extended four times even though the daily infections and positivity rates have sunk.

While announcing the lockdown, CM Arvind Kejriwal appealed to migrant laborers not to leave the city and guaranteed them that the government would take care of them. Soon later, the migrants started assembling at the three ISBTs at Kashmere Gate, Sarai Kale Khan, and Anand Vihar.

Unlike last year, when a nationwide lockdown on March 25 persuaded tens of thousands of alarmed migrant workers to swarm ISBTs and wait for 12-16 hours for a bus or walk hundreds of kilometers back to their home. Delhi government officials had consulted bus arrangements earlier with other state governments, especially Uttar Pradesh.

As per the report, during the first week of the lockdown, almost half of the 379,604 laborers left. In the following weeks, the number of commuters steadily decreased to 212,448 (second week), 122,490 (third week), and 92,490 (fourth week), a report cited. It also stated that within the Capital, Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster buses aided 827,905 commuters to be dropped at the ISBTs and railway stations.

About 21,879 trips were made by buses, of which 8,074 were implemented in the first week. Additional government data showed a bulk of the passengers traveled to Uttar Pradesh, which regulated 17,762 extra buses from Anand Vihar and Kaushambi ISBTs. The Anand Vihar and Kaushambi terminals single-handedly migrated 689,642 passengers during the four weeks, the reports cited.

According to the lockdown guidelines, Delhi Disaster Management Authority permitted people’s movement to travel through ISBT, airports, and railway stations.

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