Provide Free Tickets, Food To Stranded Migrant Workers Returning Home: SC
There seems to be no end to the woes of migrant labourers in India. There was a big hue and cry when migrant labourers were asked to pay for their tickets.
There seems to be no end to the woes of migrant labourers in India. There was a big hue and cry when migrant labourers were asked to pay for their tickets. In fact, Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi had not only slammed the Centre for charging poor labourers but also offered to bear their travel expenses.
Now, the Supreme Court to has ruled in favour of the migrant labourers stranded in different cities. While the union government argued that it was making every effort to battle the ongoing crisis caused by the pandemic, the Apex Court has directed the Centre to provide free bus and train tickets to migrant labourers stranded across cities to go back to their native land.
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta was asked by a 3 bench judge to explain the confusion over the travel costs of lakhs of migrant labourers who were stranded in several parts of the country. The court warned the Centre against charging migrants for travelling back to their home towns.
The bench also fumed at the Centre over a lack of policy to send back migrants. It said that there has to be a timeline set for this. And also cited instances of migrants enroute home being rejected at the border of a state which was not allowing their entry. So the bench called for a clear cut policy to avoid the confusion.
On the contrary, the Centre contends that the migrant labourers are not being charged for their tickets arguing that while the state government is bearing 15pc of the ticket cost, 85pc is being borne by the Railways.
The court also said that the originating state must provide food for migrant workers travelling on bus and train. It also asked the states to set up help desks to help the migrant workers returning to their homes.
According to the data provided by the Centre to the court, some 97 lakh migrants have been sent back home so far via special buses and Shramik Special trains.
The court also asked the states to register migrants and make arrangements to ensure their safe return. It also said that scores of migrant workers were made to wait for days before boarding their bus or trains to their homelands even after registering their names.
The court also suggested that migrant workers found walking to their homes should be taken back to the shelter and given food and water. The Supreme Court had recently taken suo motu cognizance of the miseries of migrant workers who were found walking back home or some of whom had to wait days to return home. It had also demanded an explanation from the government on measures taken to ensure the safe return of these migrant workers.