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[Migrant Crisis] Having extracted work, State cannot be ungrateful: Madras HC orders Govt to ensure food, shelter to Migrants on war-footing

"The State Government is directed to identify migrant labourers without food, shelter and medical facilities and provide the same to them on war-footing basis and file a report in the next hearing", the Court said.

Meera Emmanuel

The Madras High Court has directed the State Government to ensure that stranded migrant workers are provided food, shelter and medicinal facilities on war-footing, adding that a report on the same should be filed before the next hearing.

Concern was raised before the Court today that there were thousands of migrant labourers found loitering in railway stations without food, shelter or medical facilities.

Taking serious note of the same, the Bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and R Hemalatha observed,

"It is the duty of the State to see that every migrant worker is provided with adequate food, drinking water, shelter and medical facilities. Having extracted work from the migrant labourers, our State cannot be ungrateful."
Madras High Court

The State today assured the Court that it is taking all steps to provide necessary facilities to the migrant labourers.

It was also added that the comprehensive directions given by the Supreme Court on the issue, including the free transportation of migrant workers wishing to return to their home states amid the pandemic, are being followed.

The State further sought to file a comprehensive report and counter on the same.

Recording these submissions, the Court has now directed the State Government to file a report on the steps take to ensure the same. The order passed today reads,

"Hence, the State Government is directed to identify the migrant labourers who are without food, shelter and medical facilities and provide the same to them on war-footing basis and file a report in the next hearing."
Madras High Court

Special Government Pleader Thangavel and Additional Advocate General G Rajagopal appeared for the State today.

Last month, the same Bench had directed the Government authorities to respond on various queries posed over the migrant worker crisis.

The Court had observed that the pathetic condition faced by migrant workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic continue in the absence of coordinated effort between the States.

The matter will be taken up next on June 8.

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