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SC orders states to bear migrant labourers’ travel expense, asks them to provide food, water

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The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered state governments to bear the cost of migrant labourers’ travel whether they take trains or buses. It has also asked the state governments to arrange food and water for the stranded migrants in their jurisdictions.

The order said that the originating states shall give meal and water at the station or terminal, while the Indian Railways will provide meal and water during the journey of the migrant labourers.

The Supreme Court said that it has noticed several lapses in transportation, registration, providing food and shelter to migrants. It added that even after registration, workers have to wait for long period to be transported back, many resorting to walk to villages.

Concerned with miseries of migrant workers, interim directions need to be issued, the apex court said.

The court ordered the state governments to oversee registration of migrant workers, to ensure that they are transported at the earliest.

It further added that migrant workers found walking on the roads will be sent to shelter homes where food and other facilities to be provided.

The court’s order comes after more than two months of misery for migrant labourers as they have struggled to reach their hometowns from all parts of the country. In the wake of the coronavirus-forced nationwide lockdown, the labourers have been deprived of all means of reaching home apart from walking hundreds of miles in the punishing summer.

In the Shramik special trains several deaths have been reported due to lack of food, water and soaring temperatures. The hapless labourers will hope the Supreme Court order changes their fate for the better.The lockdown in the country began on March 25 and, after three subsequent extensions, remains in effect until May 31.

Supreme Court orders states to bear migrant labourers’ travel expense, asks them to provide food, water