Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced on Tuesday that anyone who needs employment in the state can approach their district magistrate, and will be assigned work in the local panchayat, NDTV reported. The order, however, will not be applicable to people above the age of 60.
The announcement was made hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the 21-day lockdown to combat the coronavirus was being extended till May 3.
The Bihar government also earmarked construction projects for resumption. The decision was made after a meeting held via video conferencing with all top administration and police officials.
Kumar said that projects under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act will be restarted, albeit with certain restrictions. Work related to flood mitigation, providing piped drinking water to all households, the renovation of ponds, drainage systems and the roads of rural areas in the state, will also be re under government supervision, he added.
The chief minister also ordered the release of an additional sum of Rs 50 crore from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for providing assistance to people from Bihar who are stranded in other states. The amount would be utilised by the disaster management department, an official release said.
On March 26, Kumar had released a sum of Rs 100 crore from the relief fund to provide necessary assistance to migrant workers from the state who were stuck in other states. The Bihar government has also been providing monetary aid to poor people in the state by transferring a special assistance of Rs 1,000 each in their bank accounts. It is also running relief centres in different parts of the country to provide food, shelter and ration to workers.
Tens of thousands of migrant labourers, including whole families, attempted to return to their villages by foot after Modi announced the first lockdown on March 25. However, fearing mass transmission of Covid-19, the Centre ordered states to seal the borders.
Over the past few days, there have been reports of restlessness, protests and violence by migrants dissatisfied with their living conditions in shelter camps, or wanting to return home.
The Centre on Tuesday extended the suspension of services for all passenger trains and flights till May 3. India has reported 10,363 coronavirus cases and 339 deaths as of Tuesday.