SC comes to rescue of migrant workers

Noting that much was not being done by the respective states where migrant workers were stranded and wishing to go home, Supreme Court taking a suo- motu cognizance of their difficulties ordered that such workers after their due registration etc be arranged to be sent to their respective places. Whether by trains or buses whatsoever, the respective State Governments and Central Government had to bear the cost of their travel as well as shelter , food and water. Although some states have been doing comparatively better , yet in the absence of a uniformity and also unfortunately for purposes of playing avoidable politics, overall scenario depicted a far from satisfactory position.
Lockdown, though an unavoidable , inescapable and perhaps inevitable remedy to contain the spread of the Novel Corona virus had its ‘side effects’ too where every segment of society had to undergo hardships and difficulties but those people from various states who, for earning their livelihood and that too on daily basis and normally working in different states, immediately faced loss of working days . Since labour being fragile , its characteristics are that a day’s labour loss is a loss for ever , whatever little money these people had saved for the ‘rainy days’ was spent and totally exhausted by the conclusion of lockdown 2.0. It is then only these people started feeling the rigours of the pinch of being away from native places and preferring to go home than passing days of uncertainty. This segment of our society mostly coming from states like Bihar, UP, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand etc are the backbone of the economic activities – be those in industries, real estates, factories or as technicians, welders, plumbers, fitters, electricians, masons, carpenters , manual labourers, painters and the like. Even in many agriculture farms across the country , they do all the required jobs right from sowing till harvesting to earn livelihood. Thus , their contribution towards the economy is quite significant. As a natural corollary, under the present unprecedented and unexpected crisis, they need to be bailed out , at least , till the moment they reach home. It is here the Apex Court of the country wants that they be taken full care of right from the originating state to their state of destination , all free of charges.Railways , during the journey have to provide to these workers food and water is what the Court has ruled.
It is a sad commentary on the emerging and emerged situation in that a few states first requisitioning particular number of trains for shifting from other states their people, later backtracking and accepting to receive only a fraction of the number requisitioned as they had no foolproof arrangements to quarantine the arriving passengers ,ie, the migrant workers of the particular state. The Railways , however, are on record to claim that as many as 3700 trains had been operated from May 1 to May 27 to facilitate migrant workers reaching their respective homes. However, the court has directed that the Railways have to provide trains as and when State Governments put in such request. The unnecessary mess if not a chaos of absence of proper cooperation and understanding between the Railways and some of the states, resulted in most of the cases these stranded workers walking on roads to cover miles together without food , water and night shelter which has been taken note of by the Court which said that interim directions were needed to be passed on and in that connection, “the centre and the State Governments were required to be given some time to bring on record the steps taken by them”.
The Court wants the issue to be resolved seriously and the next hearing on the matter isscheduled for June 5. The court has also fixed a time frame of from one week to maximum 10 days in identifying, registering and shifting the migrant workers back home and asked as to why at the border, another state says that they were not in a position to accept the migrants and opined that “we need a policy on this.” Such states have been shamed for dumping the poor .With these interim directions passed by the Apex Court, it is hoped the process of sending the stranded migrant workers home would be streamlined and facilitated leading to the issue getting resolved. Needless to add, more onus fell, now, on those states which so far have shown very poor results in the instant sensitive issue.