Noting the lack of coordination between some Officers of the Government with the Red Cross and Para Legal Volunteers, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday formulated a model in the State for shifting of migrant workers.
"Some of (the officials) are not cooperating due to which adequate arrangements are not reaching the migrant workers as intended by the Government...simultaneously, the Higher Officials of the State Government are not responding for the arrangements to remove all these anomalies urgently", observed the Division Bench.
The Court was alive to the cause of migrant workers even in districts contiguous to the boundaries of State of Andhra Pradesh i.e., Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Odisha.
Taking note of the miserable state of migrant labours in the state who have been forced to undertake kilometers long journey on foot due to the lockdown, the High Court had on May 15 issued directions to ensure availability of basic amenities to the walking migrants. "In addition to those, for the purpose of the migrant labourers, who are in huge numbers, adequate arrangements are required, that too with more sensitivity in four Districts, contiguous to the boundaries of State of Andhra Pradesh i.e., Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Odisha. Those four districts are Krishna, Chittoor and Srikakulam. Krishna and Guntur Districts are adjoining each other. Therefore, these four Districts are named in addition to other Districts of the State, which are 9 more in number", stated the Division Bench on Friday.
"We trust that the State Government officials, who, though, are compelled to act upon the aforesaid guidelines shall work practically in true sense and spirit in addition to compiling their data", the Court expressed its hope, adding that "Thereby, the humanity may be respected by them with the help of voluntary and social organisations as referred or any other coming forward for help to the needy".
Accordingly, the Court issued the following guidelines:
i) In four Districts viz., Krishna, Guntur, Srikakulam and Chittoor, on the roadside near by the Toll Plazas or some other appropriate place at the highway, a temporary camp be established to provide shelter to the migrant workers, offering drinking water and other adequate facilities. The same facilities shall also be made available in other Districts.
ii) A coordination team be appointed including Red Cross Workers, Social Workers or Voluntary Organisations, Para Legal Volunteers, Village Volunteers and an employee each from the Departments of Revenue, Police, Health and local Administration. The said team shall ascertain the whereabouts of such migrant workers and make them ready for adequate facilities providing food to them.
iii) Within eight (8) hours, their registration may be made for their shifting to the places where they intend to go with the assistance of the Software Company, namely ACRUX IT SERVICES PVT. LTD, to provide assistance, particularly, in Guntur and Krishna Districts by their team and, if possible, in two other districts.
iv) Otherwise, the Government shall make arrangement of data entry operators' team with a computer system for the registration of the migrant workers in all the Districts. The said team must work at least in two shifts of eight hours each, i.e., at least sixteen hours a day, thereby the entries may be recorded immediately or as early as possible, and register them for transportation state-wise.
v) As per the entries so made, arrangement by way of Government buses, private buses for the shifting of workers may be made by the State Government. While making such arrangement, technicalities with private buses may be ignored for this purpose with an aim and object as to how far immediate steps may be taken for shifting the workers to their destination.
vi) The higher officials of the State of Andhra Pradesh and the States where those workers are required to be shifted shall coordinate with each other and shift those workers, making requisite facilities of quarantine or otherwise, but for this reason, there should not be any hurdle in shifting of those workers.
vii) The Principal Secretary and the Commissioner, Transport Department shall take up this responsibility in coordination with the officers at every District level. The District Collector shall supervise the things by appointing a team consisting of Joint Collector, Revenue Divisional Officer and Tahsildar, who shall visit the camps everyday and remain there at least for one hour to understand their problem.
viii) It is further directed that the Secretary, District Legal Services Authority of every District shall also visit those camps an hour a day and shall coordinate with the Government officials that includes Joint Collector, Revenue Divisional Officer, Tahasildar and the officials of Transport and other Departments to make things available to those migrant workers, that includes water, food and other necessities; thereby, those workers may be shifted to their destination.
The Court further ordered that the aforesaid directions are to be observed strictly, and would apply in the matter of shifting of these migrant workers by Government buses, private buses and Railways. In case of arrangement by buses, is to be made, it shall be made within 48 hours, while in case of arrangements by trains; the same must be made within 96 hours.
The bench required the Railway Department to abide by these directions on a request made by the State Government and to make adequate arrangement to shift the migrant workers.
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