Taking note of the congregation of migrant workers at railway stations and bus stands in Maharashtra as they wait for their return to the home states, the Bombay High Court has sought a report from the Maharashtra government on how it was addressing the issue.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice K K Tated was on Friday hearing a petition filed by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, raising concerns over the plight of migrant workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the petitioner, the migrant workers who have submitted applications for leaving Maharashtra availing the Shramik special trains and buses, have been left in the dark about the status of their applications.
The plea said that till the time they are to board the train or bus for their native place, they are made to stay in cramped and unhygienic shelters without being provided with food and other essentials.
Additional solicitor general Anil Singh on Friday told the court that the Supreme Court is already seized of a matter pertaining to all issues faced by the migrant workers.
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The court took note of this, but said it would still require the state government to file a report by June 2.
"With regard to the peculiar local conditions, we consider it fit and proper to call upon the state to file a report indicating how the plight of the migrant workers, who have been assembling at the railways stations, bus stands in Mumbai and places around it are being addressed," the court said.
The bench noted that it has come across photographs in newspapers showing congregation of migrant workers not only at railway stations, but also on the nearby streets.
"Such congregation, if allowed, would run counter to the objective, for which the lockdown has been imposed," the court said."The report shall indicate the whole procedure that a migrant worker is required to follow in order to be eligible for leaving this state, the likely time within which he could board a bus or train, the nature of shelter he is provided with during the waiting period as well as provisions made available to him for his sustenance," the court said.