The Andhra Pradesh government on Saturday said that it will operate state road transport corporation (RTC) buses to ferry migrant workers without charges. The bus services are likely to start early next week and continue for 15 days.
Speaking to officials after a meeting in Amaravati on Saturday, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy asked them to operate buses for the migrants to enable them to reach their destinations in the state and also those crossing Andhra Pradesh enroute to their home states.
"Anybody who identifies himself as a migrant worker will not be charged for the journey," he said.
The migrants walking through the state would be dropped near the borders of states, like Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. The Chief Minister asked officials to show empathy towards migrant workers passing through the state.
The order came amid reports that the Andhra Pradesh police had stopped hundreds of workers trying to enter the state on foot from Tamil Nadu to reach their home states, like Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Jagan asked officials to prepare modalities for operating buses and arrange food and water and other items of basic needs for the walking migrant workers at every 50 km in the state.
According to an official release, Jagan was moved by the plight of migrant workers walking long distances, carrying children and luggage on shoulders.
The Chief Minister also asked officials to prepare standard operating procedures for reopening of offices, shopping malls, shops and other business establishments.
He stressed the need for removing fear of COVID-19 and working out a strategy to resume economic activity while taking all precautions.