15 days enough to send migrant workers home & facilitate those wanting to go back: SC

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 6/6/2020 12:21:10 AM

NEW DELHI, Jun 5: The Supreme Court on Friday pulled up the state governments for alibis and told them bluntly that 15 days should be enough for them to send home all migrant workers stranded across the country since the imposition of the nationwide lockdown and asked them to create job opportunities for the migrants returning home and facilitate those wanting to go back to other states for work.
Transportation of migrants cannot go on forever, it said, asserting that the states will have to take care of the migrants. The order came days after the top court last week took suo moto cognisance of the plight of the migrant workers and passed an interim order on May 28 to facilitate their return home, holding that it was the job of the state to provide them food and transport without charging them for travel and no state can refused to take back the migrant workers returning home.
A 3-judge Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, S K Kaul and M R Shah wanted all state governments to create employment opportunities for the migrants who have already or will reach home in the days to come. Directing the Centre and the states to ensure all stranded migrants reach their native places within 15 days, it said: “We propose 15 days’ time so that states can be permitted to effectuate the completion of transport."
The time limit of 15 days fell from Rajasthan's additional advocate-general Manish Singhvi who sought this much time when the Court asked him to list out how many more migrant workers want to go back home. ”There are not many people. Please give 15 days to send everyone home,” he said.
Reserving order for Tuesday on completion of the arguments, the Bench said it would pass directions on Tuesday for the foolproof registration of the returning migrant workers, stressing that the state governments have to record how many people came into every village to make schemes for their employment and the counselling must happen in every block and district. It also put the onus on the states to facilitate the migrants' movement if they want to go back to other states for work.
The list of migrant workers should be prepared village wise, so that States will know from where they have come and how they have come. The States should also provide a list of the schemes available for them as they can't sit idle and allowed to die.
The Centre submitted through solicitor general Tushar Mehta that over 1 crore migrants have already reached their native places through over 4200 Shramik special trains run till June 3. Mehta said an investigation into instances of deaths of migrant workers aboard the special trains has revealed that none died on account of lack of food, water or medicines. Those who died were having co-morbidities or suffered heart attack,
Senior lawyer P Narasimha, representing Uttar Pradesh government, tells the court that the state is not charging the labourers at any point of time. He said, "Around 1664 shramik special trains were organised in an extraordinary measure and 21.69 lakhs people were brought back."
Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Bihar government, told the apex court that around 28 lakh people have returned to the state and that employment opportunities are being worked out for them. “The government of Bihar is taking all steps for providing them employment,” he said.
Meanwhile, additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain, representing Delhi said, that around 2 lakh workers are still in Delhi. "They are choosing not to go back. Less than 10,000 workers have expressed desire to go back to their native places," he added.

 

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