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New Delhi, Saturday, April 26th, 2020: Soon after the announcement of nationwide Lockdown, the Government of Bihar was first to respond swiftly and sensitively towards the concerns of the migrants stranded in different parts of India. A month after the lockdown, the Bihar Bhawan is acting in the same vein and is holding the grounds firm in reaching out to the millions of migrants for providing all possible help and assistance.

Bihar Bhawan 24×7 Helpline-cum-Control Room: The Government of Bihar, as an immediate response to tackle the concerns of migrants, decided to establish a Helpline-cum-Control room in Bihar Bhawan, New Delhi for those stuck in various parts of the country. This Helpline-cum-Control room was established in Bihar Bhawan on March, 25 under the leadership of the Resident Commissioner of Bihar Shri Vipin Kumar.

RC Shri Kumar says that three dedicated helpline numbers (011-23792009, 011-23014326, 011-23013884) with ten hunting lines are operational round the clock to avoid any congestion while connecting Bihar Bhawan. Bihar Bhawan also initiated Google doc forms service to enable stranded workers submit their requests and complaints online. A team of young officers acknowledges every request received from migrants while acting on those in real time. 60 (sixty) staff are deputed in the helpline in 03 (three) shifts, maintaining social distance and hygiene, to assist the migrant workers. Officials at Bihar Bhawan in coordination with the local administration of concerned states help them to meet their basic requirements in terms of food, shelter and medical assistance. We also facilitate for them getting Mukhyamantri Vishesh Sahayata, an App-based financial assistance from ‘Chief Minister Relief Fund’.

‘Bihar Corona Tatkal Sahayata Mobile App’

To provide relief to the migrants stranded outside Bihar, the Government of Bihar is providing monetary assistance (amounting to 1000 rupees) to them via ‘Bihar Corona Tatkal Sahayata Mobile App’. A web link has been plugged on the website http://aapda.bih.nic.in of Department of Disaster Management of Bihar. After downloading the application from this link, migrants can register with the details of Aadhaar Cards and Bihar-based bank accounts. This App-based mechanism of assistance came out as a model for other states for location-based Direct Benefit Transfer. So far approximately 1.4 million people of Bihar have got this financial assistance. Bihar Bhawan had sent more than 68,000 mobile numbers to Department of Disaster Management of Bihar for this purpose, RC Shri Kumar said.

Bihar Bhawan walks extra miles…

It is to be noted that the Bihar Bhawan control room is the only state house in the national capital that is working 24×7 tirelessly to facilitate the migrants of Bihar who are stranded in various parts of India. So far Bihar Bhawan Control Room has received more than 72,000 calls since its inception. It has a large chunk of more than 1.3 million migrants across the country whose information have been acted upon to redress their problems. Close to 135 thousand people helped by Bihar Bhawan have given their positive feedback to Bihar Bhawan.

RC Shri Kumar says the Covid-19 helpline numbers are reaching out to the migrants of Bihar who are in dire need of food, shelter and medicine. Bihar Bhawan gets calls from the migrants stranded in various districts of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Uttarakhand among others. Immediate actions are taken in coordination with the district magistrates, police administration, resident commissioners and senior officers of concerned states. At times, the helpline executives have to deal with some unusual request of migrants willing to go back to their native place. The executives advise them to comply with the direction of the Government so as to defeat Covid-19.

The office of the Resident Commissioner has also worked to enable people to travel their native places in Bihar under unforeseen situations such as demise of someone in their family. There are several cases of pregnant women of Bihar stranded in other states who received immediate medical assistance after Bihar Bhawan officials coordinated with concerned local authorities.

Shri Neeraj Thakur, a resident of Raghunathpur, Purnia, Bihar, who works in Delhi, contacted Bihar Bhawan as his mother died on 29.03.2020. Son Neeraj went to Bihar Bhawan in Delhi and approached the Resident Commissioner’s office so that he could go home to attend the funeral of his mother. Without any delay, the Resident Commissioner issued a travel pass and arranged to send him and his entire family to his native place.

Similarly, Mr. Anwar Alam, a resident of Kishanganj district of Bihar, also wrote a letter to Bihar Bhawan informing him that his father passed away and he had to go home. Twenty-one-year old Mr. Anwar Alam used to work at Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. Mr. Alam was helped to go to Kishanganj on 28th March, 2020 by Bihar Bhawan.

Father of Ms. Apoorva Das (an engineer in Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Bengaluru), who is a resident of Darbhanga district of Bihar, died in Chennai on 07.04.2020. She was supposed to go to Chennai to attend his funeral. She requested Bihar Bhawan. The RC in coordination with the Bengaluru Police got a travel pass issued to Ms. Apoorva. Ms. Apoorva reached Chennai timely and safely.

Redressal via social media

The use of social media is widening the horizon of relief work done by Bihar Bhawan. The office of the Resident Commissioner of Bihar is addressing the needs and requests of the stranded migrants through WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook.

RC says the Government of Bihar is working on a war-footing to meet the basic requirements and assistance of millions of migrants stranded across India.”*

*Resident Commissioner Shri Kumar said, “To assist and help the migrant workers of Bihar is the topmost priority of the Government of Bihar. I would like to assure you that the entire system is fully active and committed to the cause.”