Consider ferrying migrants in buses to home states: HC to Maha
Justice R B Deo of the Nagpur bench of the HC was hearing a petition taken up suo moto (on its own) raising concerns over the plight of migrants and daily wage labourers amid the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
The high court was on Tuesday informed by advocate Deven Chauhan, appointed to assist the court, that following its orders the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has arranged for buses from various points to drop migrants and others up to state borders.
Chauhan told the HC that desperate workers resort to travelling by trucks and tempos to reach their native states, after they are dropped at the borders in ST buses. He said to avoid this the MSRTC could consider ferrying their buses till those states directly.
Government pleader S Y Deopujari, however, told the court that this would involve concurrence of the respective state governments.
“This court expects the state government to consider this suggestion as expeditiously as possible,” the court said.
The HC also directed police commissioners of all districts and cities across the state to consider deploying additional staff at several points on highways to prevent migrants and other stranded persons from undertaking travel in trucks and tempos.
Chauhan further told the court that a train was supposed to depart to Howrah from Nagpur this evening ferrying 300 migrants, but it was cancelled and postponed due to the Cyclone ‘Amphan’ threat.
He added that a train is scheduled to leave Amravati district this evening, and it will pass Nagpur before heading to Bihar.
Chauhan sought the railways to consider adjusting the passengers who were to travel to Howrah in this train.
The divisional commissioner of railways, Nagpur, who was present via video conferencing for the hearing, told the court that the train to Bihar would be halted at Nagpur and those passengers who were to travel to Howrah would be accommodated in this train if they wish.
The court accepted the statement.
The court was also informed that the district administration has pursuant to court orders made arrangements for state transport buses at various points to ferry migrants to state borders.
The court directed the administration to erect temporary shelter homes at these points so that migrant workers and others who gather there can wait in such homes.
The bench also clarified that the authorities could use funds from the State Disaster Relief Fund to provide dry ration to the migrant workers and other stranded persons.
Money from the fund was presently being used only to provide cooked food.
The court has posted the matter for further hearing on May 26.