Take Migrants On Road To Shelter Homes, Give Foot: SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed that the migrant workers found walking home should immediately be taken to shelters and should be provided with food and all other basic facilities.

The apex court has directed that the migrant workers, who are stranded due to the ongoing coronavirus-induced lockdown, shall be provided food by the States at places, which shall be publicised and notified for the period that they are waiting for their turn to be taken home.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and also comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice MR Shah was hearing the matter pertaining to the plight of the migrant workers, on which it had taken a suo motu cognisance on Tuesday.

The top court directed that no fare, either for train or bus, shall be charged from migrant workers and the same shall be shared by the States and said that originating State shall provide meal and water at the station.

“The State shall oversee the registration of migrant workers and States to ensure that after registration, they are made to board the train or bus at an early date. All necessary details regarding the number of migrants, plan for transportation mechanism of registration and other details should be brought on record in the reply,” the court said.

The Supreme Court observed that due to the short time available, the States and the Centre could not file a complete report on the matter and some States have not even filed any reply.

With regard to the migrant workers from Bihar charged for their travel back home, the court observed that the fare has been reimbursed to the migrant workers.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, submitted before the court that all migrant workers do not intend to go back to their home States and added that some migrant workers are willing to work at different places.

“We are at present concerned with the miseries and difficulties of migrants trying to get to their native place. There are several lapses that we have noticed in the process of registration, transportation, and providing food water to the migrants,” the court said.

The top court said that it has heard the counsel for Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh and observed that coordinated steps between the States, Centre, and the Railways are being taken, and the States are being asked to increase the train facilities.

Mehta submitted that at least 3,700 Shramik special trains have been operated to ferry migrant workers back to their home between May 1 and May 27 and added that around one crore migrants have been transported so far. (ANI)

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