The Calcutta High Court has directed the state government to ensure that proper care is taken of the children of migrant workers in need of protection and care amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The court issued the directions on April 8 after a suo motu hearing of the matter. A Division Bench of Justices Harish Tandon and Soumen Sen ordered the state government to submit a comprehensive report on the condition of children in various government and private homes, and the steps taken to ensure their well-being, by April 21, when the matter will be heard again.
The court noted that there had been an influx of migrants in the state since a nationwide lockdown was imposed to contain the pandemic.
“The government must take care of the children of the migrant workers and migrant families who arrived in the state since the outbreak of COVID-19 and shall identify the children who may be considered as in need of care and protection,” said the judges.
The court directed the Principal Secretary of the Child Welfare Department to ensure that the superintendents of the homes do not leave their workplace till the lockdown is lifted.
“The superintendents would ensure the cleanliness of each home, and special attention should be paid to the health and hygiene of every child,” the bench ordered.
The court judges asked the superintendents to also look after the children’s mental health. “The superintendent must remove fear from the minds of the children and change the channel of their thoughts from worries over the outbreak to that of joy through dancing, art, music, gardening, yoga and meditation,” the judges added.
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