(Sandhya Jha, Intern Journalist): A hearing was held in the Supreme Court today in the case of problems facing migrants in lockdown amid Corona epidemic. The Supreme Court said that no fare should be taken from migrant laborers traveling by buses and trains and the state governments should bear this cost. The court said that the stranded laborers should be given food by the state governments until they boarded buses or trains to go to their homes. State governments should give them food at the station as well and the Railways should make this arrangement for them during the journey.

Earlier, on behalf of the Central Government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that the migrant laborers are being transported to their states by special trains and buses by co-ordinating with the state governments. From 1 May to 27 May 91 lakh laborers were delivered home. But, the court asked – Were they fed during the journey?

The court said – Migrants must get food

The Supreme Court asked- Did the migrants be asked for ticket money at any stage? The question is how the state governments are paying the ticket money. If they are taking money from migrants, are they reactors? Are they getting food or not while waiting for the train? The court said – Migrants must get food. The Solicitor General replied that food was being served.

Many needy did not get benefit: Supreme Court

The Solicitor General said that every day about 3.36 lakh migrants are being transported to their states. The government will deliver all such migrants to their homes. The court said that the central and state governments are making efforts, no doubt, but many needy people could not get the benefit.

The Supreme Court sought a response from the government by 28 May

The court took suo moto cognizance of the matter on Tuesday. The Supreme Court had said that the condition of the laborers is bad. The arrangements made by the government for them are insufficient. The court had issued notices to the central and state governments seeking an answer in the matter. The court said that governments needed to take effective steps immediately. Arrangements for travel, stay and food should be made immediately to bring the migrant laborers home. In this work, coordination between agencies is necessary.

The bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and MR Shah took cognizance on the basis of media reports and letters received on the plight of workers. The court had said that there are complaints of non-availability of food and drink on the way for the migrants returning home on foot.

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