JORHAT, May 11 – State Health, Finance and Education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today stated that an estimated 10,000 migrants per district will be arriving by train in the next 45 days after trains start running from May 12 onwards.
The said estimated figure was apart from those who would be returning by vehicles or ambulances.
Speaking to newspersons after inaugurating the 50-bed ICU at the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital here today, Sarma said that quarantining such a huge number of migrants in their home districts would be the ‘greatest challenge’ for the government in the coming days.
“There will be about 1200 persons per train and the exact numbers of migrants heading to various places across Assam is likely to be known by tomorrow,” the Minister he said.
For upper Assam, Sarma said that the train would stop at Dibrugarh railway station and screening and testing would be done at Dibrugarh following which they would be forwarded to their home districts.
People coming to Jorhat too would first reach Dibrugarh and be screened before sending them back to Jorhat. Similarly the same procedure will be followed for migrants returning to other districts of Upper Assam.
“We are planning to take the help of the civil society in ensuring people coming from outside the State remain in full quarantine and local committees would be formed to keep a close watch on them,” Sarma said.
Explaining on how the civil society could help in making the quarantining of people coming from outside a successful exercise, the Minister said that if someone returned home then a group of people, specially neighbours would ensure that the whole family of the migrant become a containment zone and that they would be fed by the village for 14 days.
“They (people who will keep a watch) would drop the food at regular intervals at the gate of the house (where the quarantined people will reside) everyday and keep a close watch to ensure no one of the family, including the migrant, came out and mixed with others in the village or the locality,” the Minister informed.
He further said that in case the numbers were large, then hotels, educational institutes, etc., would be kept in readiness for quarantining the persons returning home from outside Assam.
Sarma said that the help of MLAs would be taken to set up washrooms and toilets in large numbers. He further said that if a person developed symptoms or turned critical, he would be sent to the zonal centres for treatment.
Sarma also chided those people who were referring to the migrants as imported fish from outside the State by saying these were our “own people who had migrated to other parts of India for doing jobs or other reasons and now wished to return home.”
“We are bound to take them back as Assam is their home and this is the policy made by the Central Government as the States in which they were working cannot take on the additional burden of looking after migrants as well as people of their own States who have hence returned,” the Minister observed.
Sarma had earlier visited the Covid-19 screening facility at Kakodanga on the outskirts here near Jorhat-Golaghat border and the Kaziranga University, where a quarantine facility had been set up for persons returning from other parts of India.
He also announced that another 40-bed ICU would be set up in JMCH. He was accompanied by Minister of state for Health Pijush Hazarika.