Returnee Issue: Appropriate Action After Receipt Of HC Order, Says Odisha Law Min

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Law Minister Pratap Jena today informed that the State Government would take appropriate action after it gets a copy of the directive issued by the High Court pertaining to the return of stranded Odias in other States.

“Yesterday High Court after conducting a hearing has issued a directive that those who wish to return to Odisha should be first screened there and if they are infected or affected permission should not be granted for their entry into Odisha and they should be treated outside Odisha. And if they are not infected then they can be allowed to be brought to Odisha. We are yet to receive the order in this regard. On receipt of the order we will examine it and take action as appropriate,” said Jena talking to reporters here.

He further informed that several Odias staying outside the State have registered for returning and many of them have also arrived in Odisha.

“We are fully prepared for their accommodation and care. We have readied around 14,000 Temporary Medical Camps (TMCs) in 6,798 panchayats in Odisha with 5 lakh bed capacity for their stay,” he added.

The State Government on Thursday cancelled all trains from Surat to bring back returnees to the State following a directive from the Orissa High Court to bring only those migrant workers who test negative for COVID-19 after the conduct of RT-PCR test.

Almost 100 trains were lined up and 3 were to start journey from Surat for Odisha today. All have been cancelled now. As many as 16 trains had arrived in the last five days with over 20,000 migrants.

Earlier in the day, the HC directed that all migrants, waiting to return to Odisha, should test Covid-19 negative before departing for the state, it said while hearing public interest litigation (PIL), filed by Narayan Chandra Jena.

The court asked the state government to do the RT-PCR (Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) tests of Odia migrants in the states they were stranded.

The HC has directed the State government to bear the RT-PCR test expenses.