The Telangana High Court on Tuesday ensured that migrant workers remaining stranded in the state are transported back by the Railways in the Emergency Quota immediately.
As reported in the Times of India, the division bench heard the reasons put forth by South Central Railways counsel Pushpender Kaur, who pleaded inability to provide extra bogies and sufficient berths under emergency quota in regular trains. "When will you become sensible enough to apply the same rules in favour of the poor and impoverished? When you can earmark special bogies for marriage parties, why can't you do it for poor migrants? That too when ordered by the Supreme Court itself," the CJ had demanded.
In pursuance of the orders of the Court of Monday, the Divisional Railway Manager, Secunderabad was present before the bench on Tuesday, who informed that in the Emergency Quota, thirty-four berths are available. Moreover, twenty berths would be available in AC-III tier compartment. "According to him, in case the State Government were to contact the Divisional Railway Manager's Office, the necessary arrangements, for transporting the forty-nine migrant workers for Bihar, would be made immediately", the bench noted.
The Court recorded the submission of the Advocate General that immediately, a personnel from the Government would be deputed to the Divisional Railway Manager's Office, who would make the necessary request to the Divisional Railway Manager's Office to ensure that all 49 stranded migrant workers are transported to Patna, either on 24th or on. 25tb ofJune,2O2O.
"The said arrangement, between the State Government, and the South Central Railway, shall continue in order to ensure that other stranded migrant workers, who need to reach their destinations, are comfortably provided with Railway transportation service", ordered the Court on Tuesday.
Earlier, the Chief Justice-led bench had suggested that 2-3 bogies in each train be earmarked for ferrying the migrant workers stranded in the state to their home-towns. Last Friday, the bench was informed on behalf of the railways that it is not willing to add/demarcate certain bogies as Sramik bogies in those trains which are running on a regular basis. Since the regular trains are completely booked till October, it is not possible for the Railways to cancel the tickets, and to substitute the stranded migrant workers in place of the regular passengers, it was submitted.
Further, as regards the direction of the Court to the state to request the south central Railways to restart sramik Trains for the far off destinations of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Jharkhan, the bench was told that since there may not be sufficient number of stranded migrant workers, who need to be transported to different destinations, the State would unnecessarily be burdened with huge expenditure for running of the Sramik Trains. Because of this reason, the State is not willing to request the Railways to restart the plying of Sramik Trains. "Since it is the duty of the State to transport the stranded migrant workers, in case Sramilc Trains are required to be plied, the State will be burdened with an expenditure of Rs. 1O,OO lakhs for a single Sramik Train", it was advanced.
In these circumstances, the bench had directed the the State Government to consult the South central Railways, and to see if there is a possibility of transporting the stranded migrant workers through Sramik Trains, which may not contain twenty-four bogies, but may be reduced to the number of bogies, which may comfortably carry the migrant workers on their journey back home. The government was also free to request the South Central Railways to reduce the amount to be paid by the State on a pro rata basis.
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