28 March 2020
New Delhi: Over half a dozen officers, including the District Magistrate and SSP of Ghaziabad, had to camp for hours at the Kaushambi bus station in Uttar Pradesh on the Delhi border to handle the surging crowd of migrant labourers rushing home. It was then that an intrepid IAS officer from Lucknow showed his management skills.
The management capabilities of IAS officers often become troublesome for governments in times of crisis. For the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, the 2004-batch firebrand IAS officer Rajasekhar's skills came in handy.
If thousands of labourers trapped in Ghaziabad from Delhi could leave for homes on Saturday, it was all due to Rajasekhar's efficient management.
When Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath decided to send buses late on Friday to bring the crowds trapped in the NCR, Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) Managing Director Rajasekhar worked the phone lines across the state. Each driver was called back from his home. Buses from every district left for Ghaziabad so that thousands of the poor labourers from Delhi could leave for home.
Thousands of people gathered at Kaushambi bus station in Ghaziabad on the border of Delhi, mostly poor labourers. Regional Manager A.K. Singh was involved in arranging buses. Meanwhile, he got a call from MD Rajasekhar. Rajasekhar asked about the number of buses and passengers available for each district.
A.K. Singh told IANS, "MD sahab is handling the situation very well. We are constantly taking the most updates. MD sahab is interested in solving problems immediately."
In fact, after the announcement of 21 days of lockdown on the night of 24 March, the mass migration of labourers living in Delhi started. A huge crowd from Delhi descended on the UP border. People started leaving for various districts of Uttar Pradesh on foot. The crowd became difficult to control. The UP government had thought that the crowd should be controlled by organising camps with food, however the situation worsened due to the increasing migration of workers from Delhi. Eventually, the state government decided to shift 1,000 buses to Ghaziabad late on Friday.
Operating the buses was a difficult task in this situation as most of the transport officials and employees were sitting at home due to the lockdown. Then Rajasekhar took command.
First, he wrote a letter to the DMs and SPs of all districts, saying no one should stop the buses sent to bring the trapped labourers along the border of Delhi. After this, Rajasekhar asked all the Regional Managers and Assistant Regional Managers of the state to send a thousand buses to Ghaziabad.
The buses started operating from Ghaziabad to different districts of UP from Friday at 8 in the morning. The transport department estimates that in two days the crowds at the UP border will reach their homes.