Mumbai, May 10;
The Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra government to take a decision on whether it would bear transport costs of migrant workers returning to their home states amid lockdown for coronavirus.
The above directions were given by Justice S C Gupte while hearing public interest
litigations, via video conferencing, filed by non-government organisations seeking that
the state bear the cost of medical screening and transport expenses of migrant labourers.
The petitioners-“Sarva Hara Jan Andolan”, “Angmehnati Kashtakari Sangharsh Samiti”, “Movement for Peace and Justice Welfare” and Shramik Mukti Sangathan” sought relief from the state government in terms of food and sanitation, to migrant workers, slum dwellers, homeless persons in the state amid lock down.
On 5 May, Justice Gupte had directed the government to file a reply clarifying its stand on bearing travel expenses and cost of medical screening. On Friday, the stategovernment lawyer B P Samant, told the high court that on 7 May 2020, the Maharashtra government had modified its earlier orders under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, regarding transportation of migrant workers and provided for free of cost medical screening.
Each passenger (travelling on special trains provided for migrant workers) will not need an individual medical certificate but instead there, will be a common passenger information about the travellers who have successfully completed screening before beginning their rail journey.
On the issue of transport expenses, Justice Gupte referred to the Supreme Court's May 5 order which noted that the railways would subsidize 85 percent of the fare and the states can take a decision on the balance cost. Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh confirmed the position of the Central government on rail fare subsidy. The Maharashtra government could take a decision accordingly, the high court said while disposing of the matter.
Raju Vernekar is a Media Professional based in Mumbai and is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He had served as Chief Reporter at Free Press Journal (1996 – 2015 ). His Activities includes writing for different news papers, script writing/production for TV channels, Films Division. Writing poems in Marathi, Hindi, English, Guiding mass media students and helping people to solve their problems. Raju may be contacted at [email protected]
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