Coming down heavily on the perilous situation being faced by thousands of migrants due to the coronavirus-induced lockdowns, the Supreme Court of India today asked the government to ensure free travel for stranded migrants who are headed home.
The apex court noted that there were several lapses in dealing with the situation– including registration, transportation and provision of food and water to the migrants who were returning to their home towns.
The apex court also expressed its concern for those migrants who were walking back in desperation to their homes on the national highways. It ordered the government to set up shelter homes where they migrants will be fed and given proper medical care.
It also forbade the government from charging any fares from the migrants for bus or train travel.
The government has come under severe criticism for ignoring the state of migrants during the process of national lockdown.
Initially, the government permitted the migrants to reach home and arranged buses for them. However, in a matter of few days, they changed the order and it was during this period that the migrants began to walk back home.
The massive humanitarian crisis has unfolded with scores of migrants losing their jobs and left to fend for themselves during the lockdown. In many instances, this massive population on the move has also been at the receiving end of both government apathy and police brutally.
The apex court has now adjourned the matter to be heard on June 5.