Plea in apex court seeking food, shelter for migrant workers

Updated: 29 March, 2020 13:40 IST | Agencies | New Delhi

It also asks to shift them to the nearest government shelter homes with proper food, water, medicines and under medical supervision, until the lockdown continues

Labourers in Delhi return to their native places, after the Prime Minister announced a 21-day lockdown across the country. Pic/PTI
Labourers in Delhi return to their native places, after the Prime Minister announced a 21-day lockdown across the country. Pic/PTI

The issue of exodus of migrant workers has reached the Supreme Court. A PIL has been filed in the apex court seeking direction to the local administration/police authorities across India to immediately identify stranded migrant workers. It also asks to shift them to the nearest government shelter homes with proper food, water, medicines and under medical supervision, until the lockdown continues.

Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, the petitioner in the case, has urged the Centre to immediately act to help thousands of migrant workers families—women, children, elders and differently-abled persons—walking on foot for hundreds of kilometers, from cities to their villages: without food, water, transport, medicine or shelter, amid coronavirus crisis. The apex court is likely to take up this matter on March 30.

Srivastava said, "The entire world is witnessing an unprecedented health emergency." He expressed solidarity with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement on March 24, calling for a 21-day nationwide lockdown to contain the outbreak. "Such a lockdown is essential for controlling the spread of the infection... the biggest sufferers of this crisis situation are the poor, unregistered migrant workers, working in various big cities of India as rickshaw-pullers, ragpickers, construction workers, factory workers, house-maids, servants, unskilled and semi-skilled workers etc.," said the petition.

The petition contended that migrant workers, amid this crisis, are jobless and stranded. As a consequence, they are struggling to make ends meet besides fighting social stigma of being labeled 'virus' carriers. Hence, they may face discrimination in their villages.The petitioner claimed that it is not safe to allow these migrant workers, who might be infected, to mingle with other villagers, as it may exponentially contribute to the increase of the spread with fatal consequences.

'Help them: RaGa'

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday appealed to the general public and his party workers to provide food and shelter to the homebound migrants. Taking to Twitter, Gandhi said: "Today, hundreds of our brothers and sisters, along with their hungry and thirsty families have to move towards their villages. On this difficult path of theirs, those of you who are capable enough, provide them with food, shelter and water."

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First Published: 29 March, 2020 11:23 IST

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