The Delhi High Court has asked the Delhi government to take “all care” for repatriation of migrant workers, as and when they approache their concerned nodal officer.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar further directed that their migration be done in accordance with law and also in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the Centre regarding movement of stranded migrant workers.
The court’s observation and direction came on a plea by an NGO — National Campaign Committee for Eradication of Bonded Labour – which has raised grievances with regard to the official website of the authorities meant for registration of migrant workers for transit to their respective native place.
The NGO has highlighted that the helpline numbers provided in this regard were not working properly. It sought the need for appointment of nodal officers in each district of Delhi for the same.
On which, the counsel for the Delhi government, submitted in the court that “P K Gupta, Principal Secretary, Social Welfare Department of the Delhi government has been appointed as State Nodal Officer and all the District Magistrates in Delhi are the Nodal Officers of their respective districts.
“Their names and contact details have been given on the website of the Delhi government. Moreover, at all the relief centres where the stranded migrant workers are staying, the names of Nodal Officers and their contact details have been displayed.”
The counsel further contended that they have no objection regarding any prayer made in this petition.
“On the contrary, they are already looking into the difficulties which are being faced by the public at large and all possible actions are being taken by them to send the migrant workers to their native places,” the Delhi government’s counsel submitted.
The counsel for Railways submitted that, as and when request will be received from any State, they are ready to provide the necessary trains. The counsel submitted that more than 800 trains have already departed, taking around 10 lakh migrant workers to their native places.
The bench, thereafter, observed, “In view of the aforesaid submissions, it appears that the respondent No.1 (Delhi government) is ready and willing to accept the registration of the workers who want to migrate…
“So far as restoration of helpline number is concerned, we direct the Delhi government to ensure the uninterrupted working of their helpline number so that people may approach the Nodal Officers through the helpline numbers. The very purpose of helpline number is to help the people and, therefore, the same must be functional.”
The bench in its May 15 order said, “We also expect from the Delhi government that the Nodal Officers shall remain easily available to the migrant workers so that after the online registration the follow up action in accordance with the SOP for their movement to native places be taken.”
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