India Gujarat coronavirus
Volunteers pack food to be distributed among migrant workers and homeless people at a community kitchen during a 21-day nationwide lockdown to slow the spreading of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ahmedabad, India, on March 31, 2020. Image Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: The Supreme Court asked the federal government on Tuesday to prevent migration of people due to coronavirus and set up within 24 hours a portal for disseminating real time information on the pandemic to counter the panic being spread through fake news.

“Panic will destroy more lives than the virus”, the top court said and asked the Centre to get trained counsellors and community leaders of all faiths to calm down the migrants, who are kept in shelter homes across the country.

It said these shelters should be run by volunteers and not the police, and there should be no use of force and intimidation.

It asked the Centre to prevent migration of people and take care of their needs of food, shelter, nourishment and medical aid.

The government told the apex court that the suggestion by a petitioner to sprinkle water and chemicals on migrants to sanitise them does not work scientifically and is not the right way.

The top court, which refused to restrain high courts from taking up the issue of migrants, said they may monitor the issue more closely.

India has 1,238 active COVID-19 cases. In all, 35 people have died of coronavirus in India, while 123 have been discharged, according to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

3,000 prisoners released in Bengal

Over 3,000 undertrials and convicted prisoners have been freed by the West Bengal government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection, a senior minister said on Tuesday.

The decision came following a Supreme Court directive and unrest among undertrials in various correctional homes (as prisons are called in Bengal) after the coronavirus outbreak in the state.

“On Monday, 3,076 inmates from 60 correctional homes were released. Due to the ongoing lockdown in the country, the freed jailbirds are being driven to their respective homes by the correctional home administration by following all norms of hygiene and social distancing,” state Correctional Services Minister Ujjal Biswas said.

The released prisoners included 2,059 undertrials who have been granted interim bail. Besides, 1,017 convicts have also been set free on a three-month parole.

IRCTC serves over 30,000 meals to needy at 20 places

New Delhi: The Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), here on Tuesday, provided over 30,000 meals to the needy at 20 places across the country in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have supplied 30,850 meals, including 2,925 dinner, to the needy at 20 locations on Tuesday,” IRCTC spokesperson Siddharth Singh said.

The IRCTC provided over 7,000 meals at Delhi, Nizamuddin with the help of RPF, GRP, Delhi Police and Delhi administration. In Bengaluru, the IRCTC provided meals to 2,450 people, 700 in Hubli and 3,400 in the Bombay Central area.

It also provided meals at Howrah, Patna, Gaya, Ranchi, Katihar, Den Dayal Upadhyay, Balasore, Vijaywada, Khurda, Kaadpali, Trichirapalli, Dhanbad, Guwahat and Samastipur stations.

The IRCTC has readied all its base kitchens across the country to prepare food for the needy.