Written byRamya Patelkhana
The Supreme Court on Tuesday took suo motu cognizance of the plight of migrant laborers stranded across India due to the nationwide COVID-19 induced lockdown.
The apex court said there have been certain lapses on the part of the Center and states/Union Territories in this issue, and directed them to provide adequate food, shelter, and transport arrangements to the stranded migrant workers.
"We take suo motu cognizance of problems and miseries of migrant laborers, who had been stranded in different parts of the country," the Supreme Court's order stated.
"The newspaper reports and the media reports have been continuously showing the unfortunate and miserable conditions of migrant laborers walking on foot and cycles from long distances," the court noted.
"They (workers) have also been complaining of not being provided food and water by the administration at places where they were stranded or in the way...," said the court.
"Although the Government of India and the State Governments have taken measures...there have been inadequacies and certain lapses. We are of the view that effective concentrated efforts are required to redeem the situation," it added.
The apex court bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and MR Shah listed the matter concerning migrant workers for further hearing on May 28.
It issued notice to the Center and states/Union Territories, seeking responses on the measures taken in the matter. The court took cognizance of the issue after numerous petitions highlighting migrant workers' plight amid the COVID-19 crisis were filed.
"In the present situation of lockdown..., this section of society needs succor and help by governments, especially steps need to be taken by the Government of India, state governments/Union Territories in this difficult situation to extend helping hand to these migrant laborers," said the SC.
The nationwide coronavirus-included lockdown imposed back in March has hit migrant laborers the hardest, leaving millions of them stranded across India.
Stuck in their places of work after the lockdown, many migrant workers had started walking thousands of kilometers to their hometowns and villages, without food and water. So far, over 170 migrant laborers reportedly lost their lives in accidents on the way.
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