Other States

4,871 shelter camps to hold 7.5 lakh migrant labourers, State tells HC

Court tells NGOs to write to collectors about where benefits haven’t been provided

The State government informed the Bombay High Court on Thursday that it has set up 4,871 shelter camps in which about 7.5 lakh migrant labourers have been accommodated and are being provided three meals a day.

Justice A.A. Sayed was hearing two public interest litigations (PILs) filed by the NGO Sarva Hara Jan Andolan and Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan. The PILs relate to the issue of redressal of grievances of migrant labourers in Maharashtra following the 21-day lockdown and the restrictions placed on their movement.

Task forces sought

The NGOs have urged the court to direct the State to constitute task forces within every district to collate, execute, supervise and implement various government resolutions.

The government counsel informed the court that a common helpline has been provided in each district and 5 kg of foodgrain per person has been provided free of cost under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.

Senior advocate Gayatri Singh and advocate Kranti representing the NGOs said though various advisories have been issued by the Central and State governments and there are several schemes in place, the State authorities are not implementing them and the benefits are not reaching migrant labourers and homeless people.

They said helplines are not answered and there are several areas where there is no water, food, healthcare, or toilet facilities.

‘Uphill task’

The court said, “The State is facing an uphill task and there is a scheme in place for victims of disasters through the Legal Services Authorities to ensure immediate help by government and non-government agencies.”

Under the scheme, the State Legal Services Authorities are required to coordinate the implementation of the plan of action prepared by the Disaster Management Authorities and supervise the transfer of victims of disaster to shelters as well as the distribution of food, drinking water, medicines and healthcare. The District Legal Services Authorities can play an effective role by coordinating the activities of the State authorities, the court said.

“The first and foremost endeavour of the State government must be that no victims go hungry and the food/foodgrain reach all

victims (even in remote areas), and drinking water, medicines, healthcare and hygienic toilet facilities are provided to them,” the High Court said.

The court directed NGOs to make representations through email to collectors pointing out areas where benefits are not provided. Noting the gravity of the problems being faced by migrant labourers and homeless persons, the court directed the advocate general to be present on April 15.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 12:34:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/4871-shelter-camps-to-hold-75-lakh-migrant-labourers-state-tells-hc/article31304036.ece

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