The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday sent 250 buses to Kota in Rajasthan to bring back home the around 7500 students from the state during the ongoing countrywide lockdown. 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.
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.— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) April 17, 2020
Around 7500 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.
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 the approximately 7500 students hailing from the state to their families, officials said.
Kota district collector Om Kasera, following the state-level decision, deputed ADM (Admin) Narendra Gupta to coordinate the arrangements with ASP Rajesh Mill.
The buses from UP started reaching the coaching hub on Friday evening and are likely to start taking the students to their hometowns in UP after thermal screening by Friday night, the officials said.
They added that only 30 students will be allowed to board one bus in order to ensure social distancing and prevent spread of infection.
"On the consent of UP government, the students from UP studying in Kota and stuck in hostels and PG rooms during the lockdown amid spread of COVID-19 are being sent back to their hometowns in UP," Gupta said.
"They (UP) government has sent the buses and the same buses are being used to send the students back to their homes in UP," he said.
A district 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.