The Ministry of Home Affairs has written to all States/Union Territories for compliance with the directions of the Supreme Court with regard to the welfare of migrant labourers who have been housed at relief shelters/camps across the country in wake of the national lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The direction from the MHA comes a day before the pleas filed by activists Harsh Mander and Anjali Bhardwaj, and West Bengal MP Mahua Moitra will be taken up by the Supreme Court of India. While the former is regarding the payment of wages to migrant workers, the latter seeks for directions to the executive agencies to make arrangements for stranded workers.
The Apex Court had previously directed on 31.03.2020 in Writ Petitions No. 468/2020 and 469/2020 that:
1. The migrant workers in relief camps/shelter homes should be provided adequate medical facilities besides proper arrangement for food, clean drinking water and sanitation.
2. Trained counsellors/community group leaders belonging to all faiths will visit the relief camps/shelter homes to deal with any form of consternation that the migrant workers might be going through. Detailed guidelines to deal with psychosocial issues among migrants have been placed on the website of the Ministry.
3. The anxiety and fear of the migrants should be understood by the police and other authorities, and they should deal with them in a humane manner.
4. The State Government/Union Territories should endeavor to engage volunteers along with the police to supervise the welfare activities of the migrants and all concerned to appreciate the trepidation of the poor men, women and children and treat them with kindness.
Accordingly, the MHA has directed for compliance with the aforementioned directions passed by the Apex Court and to ensure that "necessary action in this regard may be taken expeditiously and efficaciously at the ground level".
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