The tragic situation of migrant workers has become a matter of controversy since the Centre started running special trains from May 1. Today, the Supreme court gave a detailed order about the transportation of migrant labourers. The difficult situation has forced many migrant workers into looting food carts at railway stations as reported by a number of instances. Unfortunately, many migrant labourers have lost their lives after being on the train without water and food supply in extreme heat. Yesterday, a heart-rending video of a child trying to wake his dead mother up surfaced on the internet. According to her family, the women had been unwell on the train because of the lack of food and water.
The Supreme had asked the state and central government to file replies on the issue said the main problem is “transportation of migrants and providing them food”.
To sum up, these are the 5 main points in the Supreme court’s order on migrant workers:
1) Whenever the state governments put in a request for trains, railways has to provide them. The fare will be shared by the states and no amount whatsoever shall be charged by the migrants for train or bus.
2) Stranded migrant workers shall be provided food by the concerned state at places which shall be publicised as well as notified.
3) During the course of the train journey, the originating states will provide meals and water. The railways will also provide meals and water. Food and water will be provided in buses as well.
4) The state shall supervise the registration of migrant workers and ensure that after registration, they board the train or bus at an early date. Complete information should be provided to all concerned authorities.
5) Those migrant workers who are found walking on the streets, should be immediately taken to shelters and provided with food and all other facilities.
Earlier, the Supreme court recieved a stinging letter from 10 senior lawyers of Delhi and Mumbai. The letter stated, “The Supreme Court’s failure to protect the rights of the hapless millions of migrant workers in March, and its failure to scrutinise carefully the executive actions, resulted in them being compelled to stay in cramped unhygienic accommodation without employment and wages and often without proper food and with a much higher risk of Covid infection.”