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Send migrants home within 15 days, provide them employment: Supreme Court

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: June 9, 2020 12:13:38 pm

Migrant workers going home in Jharkhand from Delhi on Wednesday. (Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

The Supreme Court Tuesday directed the Centre and states to facilitate the return of migrants to their home states within 15 days, starting today. The apex court, which had taken suo motu cognizance of the issue, in its formal order said Railways shall provide Shramik trains within 24 hours to meet the demand.

It also directed state governments and Union Territories to formulate a scheme to provide employment to workers, saying their skills should be mapped. Cases against migrants for alleged violation of lockdown norms under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 should be withdrawn, the court said.

The court further asked all the states to submit their detailed affidavits on schemes, job creation etc. and fixed the matter for further hearing on July 8.

On May 28, the top court had questioned the Centre and states on the plight of stranded migrant workers and ordered that no fare should be charged for their journey home, and that arrangements be made to provide them with food. It had also directed that states share the bus or train fare of the stranded migrants returning home. It said while the state from where they set out shall provide meals and water at the bus station, the Railways should provide it during the journey.

On May 26, the Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, S K Kaul and M R Shah had said it was “of the view that effective concentrated efforts are required to redeem the situation”.

Pointing out that “the crises of migrant labourers is even continuing today with large sections still stranded on roads, highways, railway stations and state borders,” the judges had said “adequate transport arrangement, food and shelters are immediately to be provided by the Centre and State Governments free of cost”.

The top court had also said that “in the present situation of lockdown in the entire country, this section of the society needs succour and help by the concerned governments… steps need to be taken by the Government of India, State Governments/Union Territories in this difficult situation”.

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