Karnataka refuses entry to migrants from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu

The state has issued orders that no migrants from these states will be accepted there till May 31


Migrants in India are facing a sorry plight. After the responsibility of their safety was kicked around from the Centre to the states, back and forth, 50 days post the lockdown, they are still left in the lurch.

Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa on Monday said that people from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu won’t be allowed in the state till May 31. After a meeting with state ministers and the senior government officers to discuss the Lockdown 4.0 guidelines he said, “We have decided not to allow entry of people from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu till May 31.”

“State road transport corporation buses in Karnataka and private buses will run. Strict lockdown measures in containment zones and economic activities will be permitted in other areas. Sundays will be total lockdown across the state. Home quarantine will be strengthened,” he added.

He also said that all shops will be allowed to open and all trains running within the state will be permitted. 

Speaking to the Times of India, a senior officer coordinating migrant evacuation from Maharashtra said, “We have not heard anything on this yet. Shramik special trains have gone to Karnataka and also come to our state from Karnataka.”

Karnataka had come under a lot of fire under recent times, with first not allowing migrant labourers to leave the state at the behest of the construction lobby who wished to expedite their projects post the lockdown and second, for charging migrants exorbitant fares for train and bus services to return home.

MHA order

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had released a statement yesterday asking that the states coordinate with the Ministry of Railways to operate more special trains for migrants to help them return to their home states. Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote to the Chief Secretaries of all states asking them to make arrangements of rest places, sanitation, healthcare, food and counseling for those migrants who are already en route on foot back home.

The MHA also asked the district authorities in various states to dispel notions of long quarantine period and ensure more clarity of the departure of trains and buses in a bid to not create unrest in the anxious migrants.

It also direct asked the Ministry of Railways and district authorities in various states to ensure that no migrant worker has to resort to walking on roads or railway tracks to reach their destination.



Earlier, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had attacked the states – mostly the Opposition – West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Jharkhand – for going slow on the return of migrants. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee who had refused to accept migrants from Maharashtra had relented after CM Uddhav Thackeray and NCP Chief Sharad Pawar spoke to her.

This week, Mamata Banerjee announced that the state government had arranged for 105 additional special trains in the coming days for those wanting to return to Bengal.



To this, Piyush Goyal had replied saying that the state needed 105 trains per day to get migrants home and not for the month and asked the CM to speed up the setting up of adequate arrangements to receive her own migrants.



Piyush Goyal had earlier taken potshots at Jharkhand saying that if the state had agreed to take back migrants, why wasn’t it giving permission to run the required number of trains there?

Replying to this, Jharkhand CM Soren had said that he in fact had given NOCs to 110 trains. He also posted a letter written by Jharkhand’s chief secretary to home secretary requesting permission to operate a chartered plane to Andaman and Nicobar Islands to bring back over 300 workers of his state adding that the Jharkhand government would bear the costs of the flights to Ranchi.

Despite the Railway Minister’s rant, it was reported that the Jharkhand CM was the first to speak to him regarding the return of migrants, News 18 reported.

The first Shramik Special train was thus initiated from Telangana to Ranchi.

As per a press release by the Railway Ministry on May 14, 2020, a total of 800 Shramik Special trains have been run across the country, helping more than 10 lakh passengers reach their home states.



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