Coordination agency mooted for migrant workers’ welfare

Make continuous supervision mandatory: amicus curiae

Published - April 03, 2020 08:01 pm IST - KOCHI

The amicus curiae appointed by the High Court in a case relating to the welfare of the migrant labourers has suggested a common gateway or an agency to coordinate activities of various functionaries involved in the welfare of the migrant workers.

In a report filed before the High Court, Parvathi Sanjay, amicus curiae, said there were various welfare projects launched by the State and Central governments and various nodal officers appointed to take care of the welfare of migrant workers. But there was lack of coordination among these various functionaries.

She suggested that continuous supervision or monitoring by the district administration be made mandatory during the lockdown period to ensure that the migrant workers were provided adequate food and shelter. Besides, creating a sense of security among these workers would alone help to curb attempts of migrant workers to sneak out and cross borders without following the medical protocol, exposing them and others in society to the dreadful virus.

The mental health of migrant workers should be monitored so that anti-social activities and substance abuse could be avoided.

There is no consistent fund or resource to meet the regular expenses of migrant workers during this disaster period. The expenses for food were being met by the contractors following the warning given by the respective district administrations, she said.

Meanwhile, the State government told the High Court that ₹2 crore had been allotted to the Labour Commissioner from the fund meant for the Migrant Workers Welfare Scheme for ensuring food, shelter and providing other amenities to workers now lodged in the labour camps opened in various districts following the lockdown.

In a statement, the government said it had taken all suitable measures to ensure food, safety, health and accommodation of the migrant workers. However, they were demanding that they wanted to go back home which could not be allowed under the current situation.

A monitoring system had also been put in place at the Labour Commissionerate to coordinate the entire welfare activities. In order to address complaints and to resolve the issues of the workers, a 24-hour call centre has been set up in 14 district labour offices and deployed multilingual personnel at the centres to address their grievances.

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