Chandigarh, March 29 : To address the problem of migrant labourers and prevent their exodus amidst the COVID-19 crisis, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday asked all industrial units and brick-kilns to commence operations while adopting safety provisions.
The government, he said, was in discussion with Radha Soami Satsang Beas, which has already offered its premises as quarantine facilities, to allow migrant labourers to stay there as these people would be needed for wheat harvesting in the fields in two weeks' time.
The owners of industrial units and brick-kilns can commence production if they have enough space to accommodate the migrant labourers and provide them with food, said the Chief Minister, while appealing to the owners to ensure social distancing is maintained.
All hygiene precautions must be made fully available at all such industrial facilities for workers, said Amarinder Singh, adding the owners should also make soap and water freely available for use by the workers and regularly sanitise the common facilities.
Hand-wash facilities and sanitisers should be placed prominently at strategic points, he said.
The directions came amid reports of lakhs of migrant labourers getting stranded across the nation, and the problem assuming ominous proportions with such labourers gathering in large numbers at borders in many states.
The Centre has directed states to adhere strictly to the national lockdown, including sealing of the borders for human movement, to check the spread of the coronavirus.
The Chief Minister said the reopening would be beneficial for both the industry and brick-kiln owners as well as the labourers who had lost their employment and homes in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown and had been left to fend for themselves.