Migrants need to return to cities, Maharashtra tells SC

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 9

Migrant staff, a lot of whom had been seen marching on foot to their native locations throughout Covid19 lockdown, need to return to cities for employment, the Supreme Court was advised on Thursday.

“Now, the trend is migrants wish to return to cities, their place of employment. In Maharashtra, migrants who wanted to leave earlier have now decided to stay back as the state opened up employment opportunities,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing Maharashtra Government, advised a Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan.

The Bench had taken suo motu cognisance of migrant staff’ plight final month. “This reverse migration is happening because industries are opening up. Since May 1, around 3.5 lakh workers came back to work again,” Mehta stated at the same time as the highest courtroom was not glad with the Maharashtra Government’s affidavit.

“You cannot say everything is fine…. You (Maharashtra) have a responsibility to find out which group of migrants are getting food etc. Your affidavit says food is being provided to all migrant workers, but we think it’s far from truth. File a proper affidavit. You have treated this as an adversarial litigation,” stated the Bench, which additionally included Justice SK Kaul and Justice MR Shah.

But the Solicitor General’s submission on reverse migration was supported by senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, representing Bihar. “In Bihar, reverse migration is happening. Migrants want to go back to cities. Trains to cities are full,” Kumar stated.

The Bench, which had earlier ordered states to make preparations for sending migrant staff again to their native locations, posted the matter for additional listening to on July 17.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi instructed that an insurance coverage scheme for migrant labourers ought to be ready.

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