90% of migrant workers ferried home, govt tells SC | India News

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Jun 6, 2020

NEW DELHI: The Union government told the Supreme Court on Friday that 90% of migrant workers who wanted to go home from their workplaces in other states had been transported back and states had sought 171 more Shramik Special trains by June 16 to ferry the remaining workers.
During the suo motu proceedings initiated by the SC to ameliorate the plight of migrant workers who lost jobs and were stranded due to the lockdown, a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, S K Kaul and M R Shah told solicitor general Tushar Mehta that the process of sending back migrant workers, who wanted to go back home, should ideally be completed by June 16.
Mehta said the Centre and states had worked in tandem to send back nearly one crore migrant workers using 4,028 Shramik Special trains and buses between May 1 and June 3. He said the Centre was ready to provide more special trains to states within 24 hours of receiving a request. He said so far, an additional 171 special trains were requisitioned by states to ferry migrant workers home.
Kerala has demanded the highest, 66 trains, by June 10. Kerala’s counsel expressed reservations over the sending state being made to pay the fares, but Mehta stepped into say that the Centre and states had worked it out smoothly so far. Other major demands for special trains came from Tamil Nadu (26), Karnataka (18), West Bengal (17), Goa (10), J&K (7) and five each by Uttarakhand, Telangana and Tripura. What surprised the bench was the demand for just one special train by Maharashtra, that too without specifying the date by which it was needed.
The bench said, “It is surprising that Maharashtra has demanded only one train. From news reports, we had a perception that the migrant workers’ situation is serious in the state and that many wanted to go back to their home states.”
Mehta said the Centre had run 802 Shramik Specials from Maharashtra to other states. The Maharashtra government wrote to the Centre that it required no more trains as the economy was opening up and workers no longer wanted to go back to their home states.

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