Provide dry ration, facilitate transportation for migrant workers in NCR: SC
New Delhi, May 14, 2021
The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the governments of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to provide dry ration, transportation and also set up community kitchens for migrant workers in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Issuing the interim directions, an SC bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and M .R. Shah said: "Dry ration to migrant workers in the National Capital Region under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat scheme or any other scheme be provided by the Union of India, NCT (National Capital Territory) of Delhi, state of UP and state of Haryana utilising the public distribution system (PDS) prevalent in each state with effect from May, 2021.
"While providing dry ration, the authorities of the states shall not insist on an identity card for those migrant labourers who do not possess one for the time being and on self-declaration made by the stranded migrant labourers dry ration should be given to them."
The bench added that the governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana should ensure that adequate transport is provided to the stranded migrant labourers (in NCR) who want to return to their homes.
"The district administration in coordination with the police administration may identify such stranded migrant labourers and facilitate their transportation either by road transport or train. The Union of India may also issue necessary instructions to the Ministry of Railways to take necessary and adequate measures to cater to the needs of the migrant labourers," the bench added.
On the aspect of community kitchen, the bench said: "The NCT of Delhi and the states of UP and Haryana (for the districts included in the NCR) shall open community kitchens at well-advertised places (in the NCR) for stranded migrant labourers so that they and their family members who are stranded could get two meals a day."
The top court also directed the Centre along with governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to file reply to the application suggesting means and measures by which they would ameliorate the miseries of the stranded migrant labourers.
"We also issue notice on the application to states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Bihar to file their reply giving the details of the measures which they propose to take to ameliorate the miseries of the migrant workers regarding their transportation, and providing dry ration as well as cooked meals to them," the top court said.
The top court passed the order on an application by activists Harsh Mander, Anjali Bhardwaj and Jagdeep Chhokar, who had filed an urgent application seeking directions to ensure that migrant workers are not deprived of ration and food security, and they should also be able to travel back to their homes at nominal cost.
The application was filed in the suo motu case initiated by the top court last year to address the migrant worker crisis during the first phase of national lockdown.
The top court has scheduled the next hearing on the matter on May 24.