The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the States of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to provide dry ration, adequate transport and set up community kitchens for benefit of the migrant labourers in National Capital Region.
The two-judge bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah issued the following directions in this regard.
1) Dry ration be provided to migrant workers in National Capital Region under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Scheme or any other scheme be provided by the Union of India, NCT of Delhi, State of UP and State of Haryana utilising the Public Distribution System prevalent in each State with effect from May, 2021.
While providing dry ration, the authorities of the States shall not insist on an identity card for those migrant labourers who do not possess (the same) for the time being. On self-declaration made by the stranded migrant labourers, dry ration be given to them.
(2) NCT of Delhi, State of UP and State of Haryana (for the Districts included in the NCR) shall ensure that adequate transport is provided to strand migrant labourers (in the National Capital Region) who want to return home.
District Administration in coordination with Police Administration may identify such stranded migrant labourers and facilitate their transport either by road transport or train.
Central government to also consider issuing necessary instructions to Ministry of Railways to take necessary and adequate measures to cater the need of migrant labourers.
(3) NCT of Delhi, State of UP and State of Haryana (for the Districts included in the NCR) have been directed to open community kitchen at well-advertised places (in the National Capital Region) for stranded migrant labourers so that they and their family members who are stranded could get two meals a day.
Further, the Court directed the Central government as well as the Government of State of NCT of Delhi, State of UP and State of Haryana (for the Districts included in the NCR) to file a reply suggesting means and measures by which they shall ameliorate miseries of stranded migrant labourers.
The order was passed on an application by activists Harsh Mander, Anjali Bhardwaj and Jagdeep Chhokar, who had moved an urgent application before the Supreme Court seeking directions to ensure that migrant workers are not deprived of ration and food security and are able to travel back to their homes at nominal cost.
The application was filed in the suo moto case initiated by the top court last year to deal with migrant labourer crisis during the national lockdown.
The applicants contended that even though states have been imposing decentralised COVID-19 curfews and lockdowns more cautiously this year, “they have offered little welfare support to working classes and migrants whose livelihoods are at sea once again.”
“This has triggered a second exodus of migrant workers who are flocking train and bus terminals in urban centres in a bid to get back home,” the application stated.
The top court on Thursday also issued notice on the application to State of Maharashtra, State of Gujarat and State of Bihar and asked them to file their replies giving the details of the measures which they propose to take to ameliorate the miseries of migrant workers.