Over 14 lakh migrant workers have left Maharashtra for their native States since the lockdown began, Cabinet Minister and State Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Jayant Patil said.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Mr. Patil said around 4.26 lakh workers travelled by train. “We used 13,655 buses to transport around 1,65,890 workers till the borders, around two lakh private vehicles left the State with permission carrying around eight lakh people,” he said, adding that 200 more trains will leave next week with three lakh people.
Commenting on the novel coronavirus situation in Mumbai, Mr. Patil said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has requisitioned 80% beds from private hospitals as well. “These beds are not only for COVID-19 patients. There will be no dearth of beds for other patients. But, in the case of COVID-19 patients, the treatment will cost the same as in government hospitals,” he said.
“The BMC dashboard will start working soon on actual time basis, giving information on oxygen beds, ICU beds and general beds. A central room helpline number, 1916, has been activated to help those in need,” he said. The room will be run by 10 doctors.
Mr. Patil said 250 new ambulances have been added for Mumbai, taking the total number to 330. The new ambulances also include those converted from BEST buses, Innova and Sumo cars. “It will ensure that any needy person will get the ambulance within 10 to 15 minutes,” he said.
“We do not want get into a conflict with the Centre, but reality has to be put forward. Maharashtra has much bigger need than Gujarat. Yet, out of 55 trains run by the Western Railways, Union government gave permission for 37 from Gujarat and only 18 from Maharashtra,” he said.
Mr. Patil reiterated that the State government paid ₹75 crore from the CM Relief Fund for the train fare.
“Running of a single train costs ₹9 to 10 lakh. We have tickets to show that in the initial trains, passengers had to pay more. Thus, the State has ensured that migrants return home without making payments,” he said.