Uttaranchal High Court: A Division Bench of Ramesh Ranganathan, CJ and R.C. Khulbe, J., while recording the plight of migrant workers, stated that,

“…lackadaisical approach adopted, to ameliorate the plight of these miserable lot, does not show the administration, both at the Centre and in the State, in good light.”

Bench asked Assistant Solicitor General, Rakesh Thapliyal:

What arrangements have been made for transportation of stranded migrant workers, and other who have registered themselves to be brought back to their homes within the State of Uttarakhand?

ASG responded to above that:

From 1st June, 2020 onwards, one train would run from Amritsar to Haridwar and back; and another train would run daily from New Delhi to Haridwar and Dehradun and back; and, in all, around 2000 passengers would be transported by train each day.

Chief Standing Counsel, Paresh Tripathi  for the State Government submitted that more than 1000 buses are being plied by the State Government to transport stranded migrant workers, and others who have registered themselves, from other States to their respective destinations in the State of Uttarakhand.

All possible steps, to provide succor to these hapless persons, are being taken by the State Government.

Court on perusal of the circumstances and the present matter, stated that,

“Failure to take immediate steps to provide adequate transportation facilities, and to introduce more trains and buses, to ply these unfortunate victims, who have lost all means of livelihood during this COVID-19 pandemic, back to their homes, would only result in their continuing to walk thousands of miles, without food, to reach their homes.”

Further the bench while recording the plight of migrants stated that,

indifference exhibited by the haves, to the plight of these have nots who are forced to walk for miles together without food and water (during peak summer when several parts of the country are seeing a record surge in day temperature), is extremely disturbing.

Hence the Court directed Centre and State to bring back the stranded migrant workers, who are walking back to their respective homes in the State of Uttarakhand with greater urgency and a proper mode of transportation. [Preetam Singh Panwar v. UOI,  2020 SCC OnLine Utt 237 , decided on 27-05-2020]

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