Abandoned houses in Pauri district's 'ghost' villages, called so as they have become empty after their residents left them, are proving useful for the administration which is converting them into quarantine centres for migrants returning in droves to Uttarakhand.
'In view of the huge influx of people coming from outside the state, the utility of the abandoned houses on the peripheries of deserted villages becomes immense,' the BDO of Rikhnikhal block in Pauri district, Mr. S P Thapliyal, said.
Poor infrastructure, difficult living conditions and lack of employment have been cited as the reasons for the mass migration of locals from such villages which have been lying vacant for years now.
Derelict houses under padlocks are being used for the purpose as school buildings or panchayat bhawans where migrants are supposed to be quarantined primarily are sometimes located in the central part of the villages where putting up the returnees may make local residents more vulnerable to infection, he said.
At least 576 migrants have been quarantined in the abandoned houses in Pauri district which has the highest number of ghost villages in the state at 186, Mr. Thapliyal said.
Migrants coming from outside are being mandatorily quarantined for 14 days by the state government either at home or at centres set up for the purpose as a precautionary measure.