Coronavirus Lockdown: In Assam's SOP For Returnees, No Transport For Those Travelling By Road

Own Vehicles and public transport are options available for those coming by road. (Representational)


The Assam government has decided against making any arrangements for the transportation of people returning by road from other states to the border point of the state. The decision was revealed in the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) released by the state government for returnees from other states. The decision comes at a time when there are several controversies sparking around inter-state movement of stranded people, particularly of migrant labourers.

According to the SOP, the people who want to return by road will either have to take public transport or will have to travel by their own vehicles. Assam Transport Minister and state government spokesperson, Chandra Mohan Patowary, told NDTV that Assam is in touch with the Centre for arranging trains for those stranded people who have been categorized as “vulnerable”. “The vulnerable people are our first priority.

We have requested the centre to arrange trains from major cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Ahmedabad, etc for the vulnerable. We are categorizing people. In terms of payments of train tickets, we will take a decision within the MHA guidelines,” Mr Patowary said.

Patients, elderly people, pilgrims, pregnant women and women with children have been categorized as ‘vulnerable population’ in Assam’s SOP. Earlier, Railways had said that it has subsidised 85 percent of the ticket fare of the special trains for stranded people and that the respective state governments will have to bear the 15 percent remainder. According to the SOP, after those under vulnerable category reach the Assam border, the state administration will arrange public transport to take them home.

Assam has already opened up helpline numbers and emails where people stranded in other states, including migrant labourers, can contact for coming back.

“Apart from the vulnerable, if someone with a job in another state wants to come back by their own arrangement, we will facilitate it,” Mr Patowary added.

The Transport Department and the Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) will make arrangements for the people coming by other states’ public transport from border points to screening centres and then onwards to the respective district headquarters, the SOP added.

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