20 April 2021 4:50 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has asked the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi to ensure that the migrant workers and daily wagers in the region do not undergo the sufferings they had to undergo during the lockdown in 2020.The capital state has announced a lockdown till April 26 in the wake of COVID19 second wave.Reminding the Delhi Government of the plight of migrants and daily...
The Delhi High Court has asked the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi to ensure that the migrant workers and daily wagers in the region do not undergo the sufferings they had to undergo during the lockdown in 2020.
The capital state has announced a lockdown till April 26 in the wake of COVID19 second wave.
Reminding the Delhi Government of the plight of migrants and daily wagers during the 2020 lockdown, the High Court urged it to take adequate steps to avoid the repeat of the same this year.
"One of the lessons that none should forget from the lockdown imposed in the year 2020, is the plight that the daily wagers and migrant labour force which reside and work in GNCTD had to suffer. We have been seeing news reports about migrant labours already going back to their origin states, with the surge in the COVID cases in the GNCTD. With the imposition of curfew till 26.04.2021, the daily wagers –who are hand to mouth,and earn their bread everyday to feed themselves and their families,are once again faced with the grim reality of facing shortage of even basic necessities such as food, clothing and medication", observed a division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli.
The bench observed that on the last occasion(2020), the civil society had come forward and provided food and other necessities to the large sections of such needy people.
Though the GNCTD counsel Standing Counsel Rahul Mehra submitted that State has taken adequate steps in this regard, the bench said "we may say with our own experience,and that the State failed to do enough".
The Court observed that GNCTD failed to utilize thousands of crores of rupees they are sitting on, which is available with the Board constituted under the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996, and which has been collected as Building cess for construction workers.
"We direct the GNCTD to ensure that the said Board utilises the monies lying with it, inter alia, to provide food, medicines and other necessities to the needy construction workers at their respective work sites. For the purpose of providing food, the GNCTD should utilise the contractors engaged for providing mid-day meals to school children in Government and MCD Schools,since the schools are not operational currently,and that facility could still be utilized for the aforesaid purpose. The Chief Secretary, Delhi shall ensure the implementation of this direction without any delay. In the affidavit to be filed by the GNCTD, the manner in which this direction is proposed to be implemented should also be indicated", the Court ordered.
The Court passed this order in the case Rakesh Malhotra vs GNCTD and others. It was a petition which was filed seeking steps to control the COVID-19 situation, which was disposed of in January. However, taking note of the COVID-19 second wave, the bench revived the case.
The bench has sought affidavits from the Centre and GNCTD regarding the availability of COVID beds in hospitals, oxygen supply etc.
"The Central Government should examine the availability of oxygen in different states in the country in the context of the spread of the pandemic so that oxygen could be made available to the areas where it is most required, looking at the surge in covid cases".
Click here to read/download the order