New Delhi: Two days after the Centre’s directive to set up relief camps to stop exodus of migrant workers, state governments told the Union home ministry on Tuesday that more than 21,000 camps have been set up to house over 660,000 migrants. On average, 31 persons have been lodged at each camp, they said.

As per the 2011 census, India has more than 45 million economic migrants who left their native places in search of livelihood. Punya Salila Srivastava, joint secretary, MHA, said: “State governments and other agencies have distributed 23 lakh food packets among poor, destitute, stranded migrant workers and those who have reached their destination but are under 14 days’ quarantine. The mass exodus of migrant workers that started last week is under control.”

Inter-state cargo movement is functioning smoothly and there is no shortage of essential goods and services, said Srivastava. “During the seventh day review of lockdown with chief secretaries of states and UTs (union territories), it was observed that restrictions were being followed satisfactorily,” he said.

Meanwhile, MHA officials directed the Delhi, UP and Haryana governments to warn landlords not to harass migrant workers if they are unable to pay their rent for next month. Several thousands of migrant workers and industrial labourers had hit the streets on Thursday last week, trying to reach their native states after the 21-day nationwide lockdown was announced. Later, the MHA ordered action against four officers of the Delhi government.

The MHA said the district magistrate, deputy commissioner and senior superintendent of police in states and UTs will be “personally liable for implementation of the directions and Iockdown measures”.

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