STATES NOT TO CHARGE FARES FROM STRANDED MIGRANT WORKERS: SC DIRECTS

The Supreme Court Thursday directed that no fare for travel either by train or bus be charged from migrant workers, stranded across the country following the COVID-19 lockdown and want to return to their destinations, and said they be provided food and water. After months of inaction during which it had left the matter to the government, on May 26, the court took suo motu cognizance of migrant’s’ misery. The move came more than two months since a countrywide lockdown was announced, that resulted in migrants having to travel out of the cities where they worked in (mostly as daily wage earners) and towards their native villages and towns, on foot. On Thursday, the apex court, which passed interim directions, said all the migrant workers stranded at various places shall be provided food by concerned states and Union Territories (UTs) at places which shall be publicised and notified to them for the period they are waiting for their turn to board a train or a bus. A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said that the originating state shall provide meals and water at the station and during the journey, the Railways would provide the same to the migrant workers. It said that food and water be also provided to them for travel in buses.