Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the order passed by the Orissa High Court preventing the entry of people to Odisha without COVID-19 test. SC Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul and BR Gavai stayed the order passed by the Orissa High Court while hearing an urgent Special Leave Petition filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs stating that such an order was unworkable.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contended that, people should be allowed to enter the State as it has been more than 40 days since the lockdown has been imposed. Various sections of people like workers, students and others have been facing problems as they were stranded due to the lockdown.

Mehta further said that States need to make necessary arrangements if they wish to check the influx of people but they cannot completely ban their entry.

The Solicitor General further stated that such orders would lead to cascading effect. Earlier, Orissa HC bench had passed an interim order on Thursday making COVID-19 testing of every migrant mandatory before boarding the conveyance. Moreover, the migrants ought to first test negative and only if they do so, will they be allowed to enter the State of Orissa, the HC ruled.

The directive for COVID-19 test was passed by Orissa High Court while hearing a PIL filed by one Narayan Jena.

Following the Orissa High Court, three trains scheduled to ferry migrants from Surat to Odisha were cancelled on Thursday.

BJP MP Jual Oram today trained his guns on Odisha Law Minister Pratap Jena after he claimed that the order of the High Court order is yet to be received.

While responding to media queries, Jena today stated that adequate steps have been taken by Odisha government for the migrants by setting up medical camps and quarantine centres.

“A lot of people have registered to return Odisha and we are ready with necessary arrangements at panchayat and district level with 5 lakh beds in quarantine centres. But Orissa High Court has made COVID-19 test mandatory and allowed migrants only after they test negative. We are yet to get the copy of the order and will take necessary measures in this regard,” said Jena.

Oram, on the other hand, questioned on orders given for the cancellation of trains.

“Odisha government should have informed about the decision to those who intend to return so that they could have tested for Covid-19,” said Oram.

Senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra said, “Cancellation of trains ferrying Odia migrants from other States has compounded their miseries. Odisha government should provide financial assistance of Rs 5000 to each Odia migrant stranded in other States amid lockdown.”