Long before the government allowed migrants, students and others stranded by the coronavirus lockdown to travel to their home states, Rajasthan had started the process. Some 40,000 migrant labourers have been moved out of the desert state since last week.
Around 40,000 buses have been arranged to move migrants to states like Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
On April 14, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended the nationwide lockdown to May 3, the city of Jaisalmer had more than 16,000 migrant labourers in camps.
The migrants, mostly from Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Uttarakhand, had come for the harvest season. A large portion of the Indira Gandhi canal runs through Jaisalmer and the main crops that are harvested in this season are chana (gram), jeera (cumin) and mustard -- crops that don't use combined harvesters but are cut by manual farm labour.
The lockdown brought all farming activities to a standstill and the migrant labour had to be moved into shelters.
That is when Jaisalmer took the lead.
"After getting clearance from the state government, we began moving migrant labourers within Rajasthan," said Namit Mehta, district Collector.
"The first lot was moved to the neighbouring districts of Hanumangarh and Ganganagar on April 21," he said.
Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat were the first to agree to take back their migrant labour. From April 25, a slow trickle began towards the state's border with Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
Today, Rajasthan prepped to send hundreds to Haryana, stepping up the process after the government's green signal yesterday to the movement of migrants, students and others.
But over eight lakh have registered to travel out of the state and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has said he will need trains to accommodate every request; Rajasthan does not have enough buses. The centre must have a comprehensive solution "irrespective of party lineage of ruling parties in the state," he tweeted on Saturday.
"Since Day one I have been saying a strategy must be devised for a smooth movement of migrant workers stranded across the country, but unfortunately there is no clarity on the same," Mr Gehlot tweeted.
"Only meticulously planned strategy with proper mode of commuting such as special trains to be run by the government will solve the problem."
The government, while allowing the movement of migrants and others, said those returning home would be screened and in quarantine for 14 days in their home districts.