The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday passed a model for shifting of migrants in the state.
“Some of (the officials) are not cooperating due to which adequate arrangements are not reaching the migrant workers as intended by the Government…simultaneously, the Higher Officials of the State Government are not responding for the arrangements to remove all these anomalies urgently”, observed the Division Bench.
The Court was alive to the cause of migrant workers even in districts that share boundaries with State of Andhra Pradesh i.e., Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Odisha.
Taking into consideration the plight of migrant labours in the state who have been forced to undertake kilometres long journey on foot due to the lockdown, the High Court had passed directions on May 15 to ensure availability of basic amenities to the walking migrants.
The Division bench highlighing migrants’ situation stated
“In addition to those, for the purpose of the migrant labourers, who are in huge numbers, adequate arrangements are required, that too with more sensitivity in four Districts, contiguous to the boundaries of State of Andhra Pradesh i.e., Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Odisha. Those four districts are Krishna, Chittoor and Srikakulam. Krishna and Guntur Districts are adjoining each other. Therefore, these four Districts are named in addition to other Districts of the State, which are 9 more in number.”
“We trust that the State Government officials, who, though, are compelled to act upon the aforesaid guidelines shall work practically in true sense and spirit in addition to compiling their data”, the Court expressed its hope, adding that “Thereby, the humanity may be respected by them with the help of voluntary and social organisations as referred or any other coming forward for help to the needy”.
Accordingly, the following guidelines were issued by the court:
i) In four Districts viz., Krishna, Guntur, Srikakulam and Chittoor, on the roadside near by the Toll Plazas or some other appropriate place at the highway, a temporary camp be established to provide shelter to the migrants workers, offering drinking water and other adequate facilities. The same facilities shall also be made available in other Districts.
ii) A coordination team be appointed including Red Cross Workers, Social Workers or Voluntary Organisations, Para Legal Volunteers, Village Volunteers and an employee each from the Departments of Revenue, Police, Health and local Administration. The said team shall ascertain the whereabouts of such migrant workers and make them ready for adequate facilities providing food to them.
iii) Within eight (8) hours, their registration may be made for their shifting to the places where they intend to go with the assistance of the Software Company, namely ACRUX IT SERVICES PVT. LTD, to provide assistance, particularly, in Guntur and Krishna Districts by their team and, if possible, in two other districts.
iv) Otherwise, the Government shall make arrangement of data entry operators’ team with a computer system for the registration of the migrant workers in all the Districts. The said team must work at least in two shifts of eight hours each, i.e., at least sixteen hours a day, thereby the entries may be recorded immediately or as early as possible, and register them for transportation state-wise.
v) As per the entries so made, arrangement by way of Government buses, private buses for the shifting of workers may be made by the State Government. While making such arrangement, technicalities with private buses may be ignored for this purpose with an aim and object as to how far immediate steps may be taken for shifting the workers to their destination.
vi) The higher officials of the State of Andhra Pradesh and the States where those workers are required to be shifted shall coordinate with each other and shift those workers, making requisite facilities of quarantine or otherwise, but for this reason, there should not be any hurdle in shifting of those workers.
vii) The Principal Secretary and the Commissioner, Transport Department shall take up this responsibility in coordination with the officers at every District level. The District Collector shall supervise the things by appointing a team consisting of Joint Collector, Revenue Divisional Officer and Tahsildar, who shall visit the camps daily and remain there at least for one hour to understand their problem.
viii) It is further directed that the Secretary, District Legal Services Authority of every District shall also visit those camps an hour a day and shall coordinate with the Government officials that includes Joint Collector, Revenue Divisional Officer, Tahasildar and the officials of Transport and other Departments to make things available to those migrants and workers, that includes water, food and other necessities; thereby, those workers may be shifted to their destination.
The Court further ordered that the aforesaid directions should be observed strictly, and apply in the shifting of these migrant workers by Government buses, private buses and Railways. In case of arrangement by buses it shall be made within 48 hours, while in case of arrangements by trains; the same must be made within 96 hours.
The bench has also required the Railway Department to abide by these directions on a request made by the State Government and make adequate arrangement for shifting the migrants workers.
Read the order below: