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Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Centre to states: Ensure migrants don’t walk home

This is the third time the Centre has reminded states of their responsibility towards migrant workers.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi | Updated: May 16, 2020 8:21:20 am
Centre to states: Ensure migrants don’t walk home On May 11, the Centre had written on similar lines to states, expressing concern over migrant workers walking on roads and railway tracks. It had asked states to counsel these people and take them to nearby shelters. (Express File Photo by Rohit Jain Paras)

Even as thousands of migrant workers continue to walk back to their homes in other states from several parts of the country, in the middle of limited trains and buses being run for their movement, the Centre on Friday said it is the responsibility of the states to persuade migrant workers to not walk, and facilitate their travel by Shramik special trains.

This is the third time the Centre has reminded states of their responsibility towards migrant workers.

In a letter to the states and Union Territories, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote, “As you are aware, Government has allowed movement of migrant workers by buses and ‘Shramik’ special trains to enable them to travel to their native places. It is now the responsibility of all States and Union Territories to ensure that movement of stranded migrant workers who are willing to go to their home States is facilitated. States/UTs should widely disseminate the arrangements for travel in special buses/’Shramik’ special trains amongst migrant workers and persuade/counsel them that they should not be walking when they can travel in buses/trains.”

Centre to states: Ensure migrants don’t walk home Migrants going to Chhattisgarh, MP & UP walking on Pune-Ahmednagar highway at Karadi amid the nationwide lockdown on Thursday night. (Express Photo by Arul Horizon)

On May 11, the Centre had written on similar lines to states, expressing concern over migrant workers walking on roads and railway tracks. It had asked states to counsel these people and take them to nearby shelters.

Earlier, Home Minister Amit Shah had written to West Bengal and pointed out that the state government was stalling movement of trains for migrants.

Read | Railway Board flags barrage of complaints over Shramik Special trains

Notably, migrant workers in camps are made to board trains only after their home states requisitions their arrival from the state they are staying in. Also, limited availability of trains and buses has meant that the wait could be long.

In the latest communique, the MHA has reminded the states of its May 11 letter: “In the letter, the situation of migrant workers walking on the roads and on railway tracks was highlighted and it was advised that in case they are found in such condition, they should be appropriately counseled, taken to nearby shelters and provided with food, water, etc. till such time they are facilitated to board the ‘Shramik’ special trains or buses to their native places. However, movement of migrant workers walking on roads, railway tracks and travelling in trucks is still being noticed in different parts of the country.”

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