The Jharkhand government will set up community kitchens along its highways to serve free food to migrant workers travelling to their home states amid the coronavirus lockdown, Chief Minister Hemant Soren has said.
The government has started setting up the kitchens 20 km apart on state and national highways, Mr Soren said on Wednesday, adding 94 spots have already been identified. Free food and water will be provided to the returning migrants, he said.
The kitchens will be run by district administrations, news agency PTI reported.
The new service is in addition to the Jharkhand government's 6,432 "Didi Kitchens" which have been providing two meals a day to nearly 45,000 people, who are in financial distress because of the lockdown, he said.
"Jharkhand has to set an example of humanity and harmony, as people should not lose humane (touch)," he was quoted as saying by PTI.
The state government has been providing food and shelter to around six lakh workers stranded in Jharkhand for weeks because of the lockdown, he said.
"Buses are being sent for those mazdoors (labourers) who want to return home, besides bringing them by Shramik trains," he added.
The migrants are not being allowed to travel on foot, the agency reported. They are being gathered at a safe place and later sent to their native towns by sponsored buses.
Scores of migrants have died in road and truck accidents, or by exhaustion and dehydration, across the country while on way to their home states. The centre and states have arranged for special trains and buses, but due to lack of money or information, thousands have been hitching truck rides, walking or cycling to their homes.
With inputs from PTI