Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar criticized the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to bring back stranded students from Kota in Rajasthan, saying “it’s a violation of the lockdown” imposed across the country to prevent spread of the contagious coronavirus pandemic.
The Yogi Adityanath’s government in Uttar Pradesh has sent 300 buses from Agra and Jhansi to Kota, the coaching capital of the country that attracts students for competitive exams for engineering and medical colleges. Thousands of students have been stranded since last month in the town, which has reported six COVID-19 cases.
“Students studying in Kota come from well-to-do families and most of them live with their families in Kota. What is the urgent need to get them home while all these migrant laborers from Bihar are stranded for weeks,” asked Nitish Kumar criticizing the Yogi Adityanath’s government move.
Kumar, a key BJP ally, said that the move would defeat the purpose of the lockdown and would also make it look like states are assisting students yet “making excuses” when it comes to migrants unable to return to their home states, NDTV reported.
He further added that if the students are being allowed to depart to their native places then on what basis, the government can stop migrant workers who are also stuck in different parts across the country.
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In a letter to the home ministry, the Bihar government urged permits granted by the Rajasthan government to be ceased.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had endorsed UP government’s proposal to depart the stranded students back to their native places after several students preparing for different entrance examinations started a Twitter campaign #sendusbackhome.
In a tweet, Gehlot said, “As the UP govt called back students of UP living in #Kota #Rajasthan, it can also be done for students from other states. Students in Kota can be sent to their home states on the consent of the concerned state govts so that these young boys & girls do not panic or feel depressed.”
Lakhs of migrant workers have been stuck in different parts across the country since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced nationwide lockdown from March 24 to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
Kota in Rajasthan is a hub of coaching institutes where students from across the country go to prepare for competitive exams such as the IIT-JEE and NEET.