The Gujarat government has roped in primary school teachers to trace migrant workers and provide them free ration during the unprecedented lockdown in view of the coronavirus outbreak. Teachers from government-run schools were called-in on Wednesday for a door-to-door survey of villages to find the migrant workers there and inform them about their whereabouts to the authorities concerned.
Lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus has turned into a humanitarian crisis as it resulted in exodus of migrant workers, who have lost their jobs and have been walking to their native places in the absence of any transportation facilities.
However, the government has been taking steps to stop their movement as of now. A group of teachers on Wednesday went to every house in Chacharavadi Vasna village near the Ahmedabad-Rajkot highway here in the industrial cluster of Changador.
After surveying the village, the teachers found 14 families of migrant labourers hailing from different parts of the country and not having ration cards of Gujarat. "We conducted a survey of every house to find the poor families who do not have ration cards. Fourteen such families have been identified in the village and we have given the information to higher officials," a teacher of a government primary school in Chacharavadi Vasna said.
The list includes names of Anil Yadav and his wife, who came from Uttar Pradesh and used to sell a street snack outside a factory in the village. "Those working in factories are the responsibility of factory owners. We are identifying those not working in the organised sector and are on their own," said another teacher.
The Gujarat government has declared that it will provide one month's free ration to poor families, whose means of earnings have been affected due to the lockdown. The ration per person will include 3.5 kg of wheat, 1.5 kg of rice, and one kg each of pulses, sugar and salt.
The state government had said the ration is being provided to migrant workers to contain their movement. "Migrant labourers from other states as well as those form rural areas in Gujarat will also be provided free ration from fair price shops starting April 4 on the basis of lists prepared by the district administration so as to contain their movement," chief minister's secretary Ashwani Kumar said.
They will be provided supplies under the state government's 'Ann Brahm' scheme, Kumar said, adding that the list of migrant labourers is being prepared with the help of primary school teachers. A fund of Rs 40 crore has been allocated through which food and shelter will be provided to the migrant labourers in order to ensure they do not eave the state, he said.
Ahmedabad, which is one of the 10 COVID-19 hotspots identified in the country, has so far reported 31 cases of coronavirus and three deaths.