Supreme Court Asks Center & States to Send All Migrants back Home in 15 days

After transporting close to 6 million people so far, Shramik Express trains have seen their demand dwindle to around 30 trains a day on June 3 from 255 trains a day on May 26. The originating states have demanded trains only till June 16.

Majority of these trains are originating from South India, including 66 from Kerala, 26 from Tamil Nadu and 18 from Karnataka. Interestingly, out of the total trains operated so far, 40 per cent were destined to Uttar Pradesh and 36 per cent to Bihar.

Meanwhile, The Supreme Court yesterday (Tuesday, 9th June 2020) directed the Centre and state governments to send all the migrant workers to their native places within 15 days and formulate employment schemes after conducting their skill mapping to rehabilitate them.

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M R Shah also directed the Centre to provide additional trains within 24 hours of states making the demand for sending the migrant workers back to their native places.

The top court also directed authorities to consider withdrawing all cases against migrant workers for alleged violation of lockdown norms under the Disaster Management Act.

The bench also directed the authorities to identify and register migrant workers who want to go back to their native places and conclude the exercise, including their transportation, within 15 days from Tuesday.

The bench, which posted the matter for further hearing in July, said the schemes for welfare and employment of migrant workers should be publicised adequately.

The top court, which pronounced its order through video conferencing, asked the state governments to consider granting counselling to migrant workers, who have returned to their homes, and provide them employment opportunities as per their skill sets.

Following the order of Apex Court, 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 approximately 60 lakh persons to their destination states since May 1.

In a letter to the chief secretaries of the states, Chairman Railway Board VK Yadav said the Supreme Court in its order has directed that in event of any additional demand in addition to the demand of 171 Shramik trains already projected by the states/UTs, the Railways shall provide Shramik Special trains within a period of 24 hours of the request of states/UTs to facilitate the movement of migrant workers.

“In this context, you may please advise the comprehensive residual demand for Shramik Special Trains for the movement of stranded workers from your state/UT along with the number of travellers, originating station, destination station, schedule and dates by which the transportation shall be completed.

“The details may kindly be communicated through an official letter by June 10,” he said in the letter issued on Tuesday.