The Maharashtra government has launched free buses up to the borders of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat for migrant labourers who were going back to their native villages by walking through walking.
The first trip was a departure from Versova Bridge on Ghodbunder Junction, near Fountain Hotels towards the border on Monday evening in which 22 people were allowed in one bus. Bottled water, packed biscuits and banana were provided to them by the officials.
The decision was taken in view of the migrant labourers risking their lives by setting out on a journey on foot on highways and even along railway tracks.
The official said the accident in Aurangabad district on Friday in which 16 migrant labourers from Madhya Pradesh were run over by a goods train was one of the main triggers behind the state government’s decision.
He said the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) buses will conduct more than 300 trips to the borders of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh in the next two days, as they will run half of their normal capacity to maintain social distancing among passengers.
“The state government has observed that migrant labourers are in no mood to stay back despite several appeals made by the state government. After the death of 16 migrant labourers in Aurangabad, the government state decided to run special buses for migrant labourers,” he said.
The buses originating from suburban will run up to Gujarat border and Madhya Pradesh border, the official said.
He said the state government would bear the bus travel fare of migrant labourers.
He said the government’s priority is to ensure that migrants do not risk their lives by walking on roads and highways by undertaking an arduous journey for home.
Earlier, MLA Geeta Jain has flagged-off three free buses for migrant labourers from Rajasthan.