Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray assured the migrant workers - who are stranded in the state without jobs and money for sustenance - that he will arrange for their travel back to their hometowns as soon as the coronavirus crisis ends.
"I give you my word that Maharashtra government will take you to your homes the day this crisis ends. I believe that when you go back to your homes, you should go back happily and not out of fear," he was quoted by news agency ANI as saying.
In a humanitarian crisis, millions of migrant workers from the states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal have been locked up in their houses without essentials since Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month announced the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus. Many of these had tried to make their way back to their hometowns on foot, only to be intercepted by the authorities.
The centre had ordered the states to seal their borders and strictly enforce the lockdown. It had also asked the states to provide food and shelter to those in distress.
"We are in talks with the centre. I am confident that a solution will come out in the coming days. Don't worry. We are gradually starting work in Maharashtra. If it is possible you can come back to work, you will continue with your livelihood," he added.
Mr Thackeray said the state government is allowing industry operations in green (areas with no coronavirus cases) and orange (relatively high-risk areas). He also said the industries which are ready to provide accommodation to their workers during the lockdown will be given food grain supply.
"The state government is allowing the industries from green and orange zones to start production and processing activities in a restricted manner. The industries will have to arrange the accommodation for their workers. They would not travel long distance for work," he was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.
Mr Thackeray said over 66,000 tests have been conducted in the state so far. "95 per cent of these are negative. Around 3600 are positive, 300-350 of these have recovered and have been discharged. 75 per cent are either mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic. 52 patients are serious. We are looking at saving their lives," he said.
With inputs from PTI, ANI