The Centre on Sunday told the states and Union Territories that the relaxations for inter-state movement was only meant for those “distressed persons” stranded at different places amid the nationwide lockdown to fight Covid-19. The government highlighted that the service will not be open for everyone.

The lockdown, imposed first on March 24 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, was to end on May 3. However, it has been extended by another two weeks till May 17. On Friday, the Centre started operating special trains to move migrant workers, pilgrims and students stranded in various states. Lakhs of migrant workers have also registered to return to their homes.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla referred to the ministry’s order issued last week and said that the “facilitation envisaged in the order is meant for such distressed persons”. He added that it doesn’t extend to those category of persons who are “residing normally at places other than native places for purposes of work...and who wish to visit their native places in normal course”.

On April 29, the Ministry of Home Affairs asked state governments to appoint nodal authorities to register such stranded persons and facilitate their movement, while observing safety measures amid the coronavirus pandemic. With businesses upended and establishments shut down, vast numbers of daily wage labourers, many of whom lived where they worked, were suddenly left without any means of sustenance and shelter in large cities after the lockdown was first announced last month. Thousands of them, including whole families, marched along interstate highways to their homes.

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