Lucknow: About 250 buses from Uttar Pradesh on Friday reached Kota in Rajasthan to pick up about 9,000 stranded students and drop them to their native districts, an official said, adding the Rajasthan government has also kept its 100 buses ready to drop them to their places if required.
The UP government initiated the move after several parents expressed their concern over their kids remaining stuck in Kota, known as a hub of coaching centres, ever since the nationwide lockdown was announced.
Kota PRO Hariom Gurjar said, “About 9,000 students from UP who were preparing for different competitive examinations in Kota are being sent home in the wake of lockdown imposed in the nation. Six pick-up points have been created in the state near their coaching centres where administration is helping these students to reach. Each bus will accommodate a minimum of 30 students.”
The students are being screened by doctors here and then shall be allowed to board the buses. Meanwhile, the UP government has offered to send more buses if required, Gurjar said.
The UP government’s move earned praise from Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot who said other state governments should also ensure that students stranded in the coaching city during the lockdown are able to reach their homes safely.
“As the UP govt called back students of UP living in #Kota #Rajasthan, it can also be done for students from other states. Students in Kota can be sent to their home states on the consent of the concerned state govt so that these young boys & girls do not panic or feel depressed,” Gehlot wrote on his Twitter handle on Friday.
Sources said buses came via Agra and Jhansi districts. About 150 buses left from Agra for Kota, while another 100 buses are going from Jhansi. While coming back from Rajasthan, the buses will take the Purvanchal route via Jhansi, while some buses will go to Western UP via Agra.
The nodal officer appointed for the matter, Babu Lal Meena, said the students are being screened before being brought back to the state. “We are in constant touch with the district magistrate of Kota and medical checkups of all the students are being conducted. All those who are found fit during the checkup will be brought back soon. There were some rumours about one student getting infected with COVID-19. Hence, the measure,” he said.
Kota district collector Om Kasera, following the state-level decision, deputed ADM (Admin) Narendra Gupta to coordinate the arrangements with ASP Rajesh Mill.
An official said the Kota district administration has arranged nearly 100 buses to be used to send the students from UP back home in case the number of buses from UP falls short.
“We have enlisted the students district-wise to board the buses to travel to their hometowns in UP. They would be provided with face masks, sanitisers and food packets,” Nitesh Sharma of Allen Career Institute said, adding that the instructions issued by the district administration are being followed to facilitate the students’ return.
According to district officials, three locations — the landmark Allen ground, Sakar building near hotel Country Inn and the private bus stand near Jawahar Nagar petrol pump — have been marked for parking of the buses reaching Kota from UP.
The buses, after boarding the students, would depart for their home destinations from six other locations — Sangyan building, Cooperative building, Sathyarth building in Jawahar Nagar, Vibrant, Motion and Resonance buildings in Vigyan Nagar in the city, they said.
About 9,000 students hailing from Uttar Pradesh are staying in hostels and paying guest accommodations in Kota city, known for its coaching centres especially for engineering and medical aspirants.
Since the lockdown was imposed across the country last month to control the spread of COVID-19 infections, the students have been anxious to get back to their homes in different states. Another 30,000 pupils from across the country are also staying in different hostels in Kota.
A social media campaign called #SendUsBackHome was started on Tuesday by the students stuck here amid the pandemic, following which the UP government decided to send around 250 buses to bring back the students, officials said.
Sources said there are about 6,500 children from Bihar, 4,000 from Madhya Pradesh, 3,000 from Jharkhand, 2,000 from Haryana, 2,000 from Maharashtra, 1,000 from the northeast and 1,000 students from West Bengal in the district.
(With inputs from agencies)
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