Madras HC | Accommodation and transportation of migrant workers stranded in Tamil Nadu, looming at large; Court asks for a comprehensive report

Madras High Court: A Division Bench of M. Sathyanarayanan and Dr Anita Sumanth, JJ. asked for a comprehensive report to be submitted since the accommodation and transportation of the migrant workers stranded in the State of Tamil Nadu is looming at large.

Counsel for the petitioner submitted that Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in the form of various administrative instructions have been issued with relating to migrant workers/Labourers.

It has been submitted that, some of the migrant workers do not have authenticated cards on the form of Aadhar Cards, etc. and NGOs are trying their level best to coordinate with Governmental Agencies for registration and transportation but still there are some problems thus the same needs to be addressed and emergent directions needs to be passed.

Government Pleader, V. Jayaprakash Narayan submitted that comprehensive guidelines have been placed based upon MHA Order wherein the following was stated:

Inter-State movement of migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places due to lockdown and said Order mandated State Governments to designate Nodal officers to have coordination with respective State/UTs Governments to ensure orderly receiving and sending of stranded people between State of Tamil Nadu and other State/UTs as per SOPs issues.

Court while hearing the arguments placed a specific query with regard to identification of shelter homes/places wherein migrant workers were waiting for transportation to their Home States could be accommodated .

Court also took judicial notice of the fact that in arterial roads, migrant workers were exhibiting their anxiety to reach Railway Station and were not maintaining the social/physical distancing and do not possess sufficient protective masks and thus State’s immediate concern should be to accommodate them i shelter homes.

Assistant Solicitor General of India, G. Rajagopalan submitted that Ministry of Railways operated number of ‘Shramik’ Special Trains to transport migrant workers and though some of the States are not permitting the entry of migrant workers, State Government concerned needs to coordinate with the State Governments.

Court asked for a comprehensive Status Report to be filed with regard keeping in view the accommodation and transportation of migrant workers stranded in State of Tamil Nadu and the effective measures/workable solutions in terms of SOPs formulated.

The NGOs shall also coordinated with the migrant workers as their orderly behaviour and render necessary help to board trains. [S. Thilakraj v. Union of India, WP  No.7702 of 2020, decided on 19-05-2020]

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