With the Supreme Court having taken suo moto cognizance of the problems faced by migrants, the Centre on Saturday filed a detailed affidavit in the top court regarding the matter, stating that it has, along with the support of NHAI, facilitated shifting of these workers, found walking on roads, by providing them requisite transport to the nearest railway stations.
The Government further said that whenever necessary, the migrants are provided with food, drinking water, medicines, clothes, slippers and other essentials free of cost, depending upon the requirements.
In its affidavit, the Centre has said that states and the Railways have been providing food and water free of cost to the labourers travelling back to their native places. “Till 1st June, Railways has served 1.63 crore meals and over 2.10 crore packaged drinking water bottles, apart from services provided by respective state governments,” the affidavit read.
“The Central government, state governments, all frontline workers and the entire nation have responded to and dealt with this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic on war-footing, taking care of every aspect of life”, it further stated.
The Union government added that the Supreme Court was “fully satisfied with the way the Centre has acted and discharged its obligations in the best interest of citizens most scientifically and based on collective decisions taken by the Executive at the Centre and state level in consultation and as per the advise of experts in each field”.
The Supreme Court had on Friday granted the Centre and states 15 days’ time to transport all migrant labourers who wanted to return to their natives.
The court further directed the receiving states to generate employment for the returning migrants.
The apex court told states to get all migrant labourers registered at block and district-level and added that states will have to generate employment for them and also facilitate their movement if they want to go back to other states for work.
The Supreme Court has reserved its order on the issue for Tuesday.
On May 28, the Supreme Court issued interim orders regarding the migrant crisis across the country, two days after it took suo moto cognizance of problems faced by the labourers who are stranded in different parts of the country due to the nationwide lockdown to contain the Coronavirus outbreak.
Dictating the orders, the apex court said that no train or bus fare should be charged from migrants travelling back to their homes. It directed that the migrant workers should be provided food by the concerned state and UT at places. During train journey, originating states will have to provide meal and water.
The Supreme Court had taken cognizance of the matter after several petitions were filed in the top court highlighting the plight of migrants during the COVID-19 crisis.