Keeping at bay all lockdown guidelines, loaded on trucks thousands of migrant labourers of Madhya Pradesh managed to reach their native place Satna from Gujarat; and many more are on their way. These labourers from the state are being lugged and herd in trucks from Gujarat’s economic capital Surat and being sent home on ‘fake passes’ without any health screening. Several trucks have been coming to Satna district since last three four days.

But the passes on the basis of which these trucks are being sent from Surat seem to be fake, as all these passes bear the seal of the same office, but with different signatures. The development has made the Satna district administration to strongly believe that these passes could be fake and some organised syndicate in Gujarat could be behind lugging of dozens of migrant labourers being sent to Satna in trucks.

According to Satna district collector Ajay Katesaria, “migrant labourers hailing from our district have returned in two phases, around 16,000 to 17,000 returned before the lockdown started and the second lot is returning now from various states, including Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat. But the migrants returning in trucks and mini-trucks are posing problem for us, particularly as each truck is containing 60-70 migrants and their kin, in flagrant violation of social distancing norms.”

“Another problem with the migrants returning on trucks from Surat is that the passes issued in Surat appear to be fake. The passes have been issued from SDM Office, but each pass bears different signatures. Also, there is no distinctive serial number on any of these passes and neither there is E-record of these passes, making us strongly believe that these passes haven’t been issued by any government office in Surat, but instead are the handiwork of some organised racket indulgent in making fake passes,” the Satna district collector maintained.

“We’ve impounded some trucks coming from Surat and have directed the police to register cases against the drivers and truckers,” he added.

According to the migrant labourers who returned to Satna recently by these trucks from Surat, “each passenger on the truck had to pay Rs 3000 to Rs 4000 for boarding these trucks.”

Even the drivers of these trucks don’t know, who has ordered these people to be sent on the trucks. “All we got from the transporters was the list of passengers, in my case, I’ve brought 56 passengers to Satna from Surat,” said one of the truck drivers Alamveer.

The Satna district collector added, “Though we’re thermal screening and home quarantining the migrant labourers being lugged and herded in trucks from Surat, but since their details have not been documented from Gujarat, hence we could face major difficulty in tracing their contacts if any one of them tests positive for the COVID-19 in the coming days. We’ve reported the issue to senior officials in our state, who will take up all these issues with the counterparts in Gujarat.

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