Telangana High Court: A Division Bench of Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and B. Vijaysen Reddy, JJ., while addressing the various issues concerning the migrant workers set forth various directions in favour of the migrant workers.
Petitions taken into consideration are with regard to the migrant workers.
Petitioner’s Counsel submitted that most of the persons working in the brick kilns happen to be from outside the State of Telangana.
With the end of the brick manufacturing season, these workers from other States need to get back to their own native States. However, they are finding it difficult to travel from Telangana to their respective States. Thus, necessary arrangements need to be made for the said migrant workers.
Another petition was filed concerning the conditions of the migrant workers travelling throughout the State specially the ones who are stranded at Medchal in Rangareddy District.
On a bare perusal of the report with regard to the above-mentioned issue along with the concern pertaining to brick kiln workers, it was observed that migrant workers are caught stranded at various Districts of the State of Telangana.
Counsel for petitioner, Vasudha Nagaraj submitted that Deputy Commissioner, Labour should be directed to inspect brick kilns that are operating within their jurisdiction and find out the number of workers working and the report for the same should be submitted, and the same should be taken into account while identifying how many workers need to be transported.
Further she added that, endeavour should be made by the Government to ensure that the number of Shramik Trains are increased.
Another thing that is creating havoc amongst the migrant workers is that, despite the Supreme Court decision on free of cost travelling through Shramik Trains, the migrants are not being permitted to without any charge.
Adding to the above, she submitted that, Government should restart the plying of the RTC buses for transporting the migrant workers to the boarders of their respective States. A concerted effort should be made by the State Government with the neighbouring State Governments to ensure that when the migrant workers are left at the border, they are picked up by the respective State.
Court Commissioner, Pawan Kumar submitted that State Government should be directed to formulate a comprehensive policy with regard to the upkeep, the welfare and the transportation of the migrant workers.
He further informs this Court that since the migrant workers are not only illiterate, but are non-Telugu speaking people, the registration process evolved by the Government for their transportation on Shramik Trains/ Special Trains is too cumbersome for them. Therefore, a simpler form of registration process and data collection should be evolved by the Government.
High Court issued the following direction on perusal of the above:
- Deputy Commissioners, Labour are directed to inspect the brick kilns functioning within their jurisdiction. They are directed to find out the number of workers still employed in the brick kilns, and the number of workers, who would like to return to their respective native States. Arrangements should also be made by the Deputy Commissioners for transportation.
- It shall be the duty of the State Government to ensure that the brick kiln workers, and the migrant workers, housed in Secunderabad and any other area of the State, are comfortably looked after.
- State Government should seriously consider the use of RTC buses to transport the migrant workers.
- State Government should coordinate with the Railway Department, and should request the Railway Department to (i) increase the number of Shramik Trains not only for the neighbouring States, but also for destinations to other Indian States such as Jharkhand, Bihar, Utter Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan, (ii) in case the number of Shramik Trains cannot be increased, then to request the Railways Department to attach four bogies specially marked for the migrant workers.
- Those migrant workers brought to Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Rangareddy, shall be permitted to board the trains from Secunderabad Railway Stations, or to board buses.
- State should also inform the neighbouring State, and should coordinate with the neighbouring States with regard to the movement of the migrant workers on the buses, and their arrival at the boarder check-posts.
- State Government is directed to ensure that in the sheller homes housing the pregnant women, lactating mothers, children, and elderly persons, medical facilities are provided.
- Considering the fact that the migrant workers are illiterate, considering the fact that most of them are from neighbouring States and are non-Telugu speaking people, Government is directed to evolve a simpler form of registration process.
State Government is directed to evolve a “comprehensive policy’ to deal with the migrant workers, both presently, as well as to deal with migrant workers even in future, considering the fact that a disaster can strike the State, or the Nation unannounced.
Advocate General is directed to submit a report about the steps taken by Government implementing the above laid down directions on 9th June, 2020. [S Jeevan Kumar v. State of Telangana, 2020 SCC OnLine TS 529 , decided on 02-06-2020]