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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: With a large influx of stranded migrants imminent, Odisha on Friday revealed its mega plan to prevent undue spread of coronavirus owing to such onrush of people returning from outside the state. As per the plan, Odisha will strictly enforce registration, stamping and quarantine of the returnees.

Acknowledging that putting all the returnees in quarantine will be a challenge, Odisha Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy today informed that pre-registration through the dedicated portal of the State government is mandatory for the returnees. Moreover, special measures have been undertaken by the State government for the migrants, students, tourists and others who are expected to return from other States either through buses or special trains. According to Tripathy, health screening of people at the place from where they are starting their journey is mandatory and will be undertaken by the concerned States as per the Government of India circular.

Modalities For Those Returning By Road ( Buses, Other Vehicles):

As per the circular issued by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on April 19, those who want to return to different States will have seek permission and requisite passes from the local administration (concerned State government). The concerned State government officials will ensure that those who want to return to Odisha have registered themselves and their details including contact numbers will be recorded.

People will only be allowed to enter Odisha through 11 check-points- Biramitrapur (Sundergarh), Champua (Keonjhar), Chandili (Koraput), Girisola (Ganjam), Jamsola (Mayurbhanj), Kerada (Rayagada), Khariar (Nuapada), Laxmanath (Balasore), Luharchati (Bargarh), Motu (Malkangiri) and Sunki (Koraput).

At these check points, Odisha has set up camps and multi-disciplinary teams including police, RTO and health officials will verify the data filled up by the returnees during registration. Those who cannot register themselves, they can register on the spot but we have urged Chief Secretaries of other States to ensure that people complete the pre-registration process before they are allowed to travel to Odisha.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has already spoken with the Chief Ministers of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu through video conferencing and urged them to allow people of Odisha to travel with necessary passes. Secondly, the people will have to intimate in prior advance the concerned district Collectors or Municipal Commissioners regarding the final destination of their journey, said Tripathy.

Stamping Of Returnees:

All passengers, who reach the designated checkpoints in Odisha, will be stamped with indelible ink with entry date and it will be used for counting quarantine period. A sticker will be pasted on the windscreen of the concerned vehicles by which people will return to Odisha. This sticker (standard sticker) will act as a valid pass for the entire State. The number of occupants in the concerned vehicle, source and final destination of the journey will be mentioned in the sticker at the check point.

“The data from the border check points will be provided to Collectors and Sarpanchs for monitoring purposes. District administration will receive the returnees and send them to identified quarantine centres,” said Tripathy.

Modalities For Those Returning By Trains:

Odisha government informed that soon point-to-point trains from some States like Kerala, Gujarat and others are expected to start shortly for stranded people. As per norms, pre-registration of returnees is mandatory and no train will be allowed without Odisha government’s clearance.
Returnees will be received at identified railway stations from where they will be sent to their respective districts. The State government will make arrangements for transportation if they want to go to rural areas where they will undergo 14-day quarantine, he added.

Quarantine In Urban Areas:

Home quarantine will be a preferred mode in urban areas. Either municipal commissioner or executive officers will decide the quarantine mode. The quarantine officers with assistance of local health authorities will check health status of the returnees and allow for home quarantine. If the concerned person doesn’t have arrangements for home quarantine, they can opt for institutional or paid quarantine facilities (hotel, lodges with some payments).

Quarantine In Rural areas:

Odisha has come up with nearly 2.60 lakh beds at quarantine centres set up in rural areas across State.

Sarpanchs have been asked to allow/permit home quarantine for pregnant women, children, students, professionals, third genders, and mentally challenged. If they do not have any scope for home quarantine, Sarpanchs and other field officers will make necessary arrangements for them.
Stickers will be put up in front of the houses of people who will be under home quarantine. The health status will be monitored by health teams both in urban and rural areas on a daily basis.

Those who will avail home quarantine, they should ensure 100 per cent compliance with the prescribed COVID-19 norms. If there is any wilful violation, stern action will be taken against the concerned persons under Disaster Management Act 2005, Epidemic Disease Act 1897 and other relevant sections of IPC, Tripathy added.

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