Boy Scout cadets at Prayagraj Railway Station refill water bottles of migrant workers, who are 
 seated in a Shramik Special train, on their long journey home.
Boy Scout cadets at Prayagraj Railway Station refill water bottles of migrant workers, who are seated in a Shramik Special train, on their long journey home.
—PTI

New Delhi: Confirming its June 5 order to the Centre and the States to identify and transport all migrant workers back to their native places within 15 days, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered withdrawal of all cases registered agai­nst them for alleged violation of the coronavirus lockdown orders and provide them employment by carrying out their skill mapping.

The order comes on the suo motu cognizance taken by the court on May 26 on the problems and miseries of the migrants and seeking resp­onse from the governments on steps taken to redeem the situation. The matter was listed further on July 8.

The Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MR Shah, which had reserved its order on June 5 asking the governments to reflect why the migrants cannot be restored to their homes within 15 days instead of the process go on forever, said: “If cases have been filed against the migrant workers for violating the lockdown under the National Disaster Management Act (NDMA), then they must be considered to be withdrawn by states.

Other key aspects of the order are:

n Shramik trains as demanded need to be provided within 24 hours;

n States need to establish help desks which will help migrant labourers to avail employment opportunities;

n Establish counselling centres to help transported migrant workers to again find a way back to travel and earn if they want to.

In its first order on May 28, while hearing the suo motu petition, the court had directed that the migrants wanting to return to their home states should not be charged train or bus fare and they should be provided food free of cost to those migrants stranded across the country.

The court has also directed the Centre, States and UTs to provide schemes for employment and also benefits for the migrants who have returned home. The details of these schemes shall be disseminated at the village, block levels at the earliest.

Migrant workers are already suffering and they have to be dealt with in a “humane manner” by the police and other authorities, the SC said. Taking note of instances of “excess with regard to migrant labourers” by police officers and para-military forces, the court said the concerned DGP or Police Commissioner may issue necessary directions in this regard.

Meanwhile, the Railways has written to the states asking them to provide a “comprehensive residual” dema­nd for Shramik Special trains to ferry migrants to their homes by June 10, hours after the Supreme Court directed the Centre to complete the process in the next 15 days. The Railways has run more than 4,347 Shramik Special trains to transport nearly 60 lakh persons to their destination states since May 1.

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