Having extracted work from the migrant labourers, the State cannot be ungrateful, observed the Madras High Court on Wednesday, directing the government to identify the labourers who are struggling without food, shelter and medical facilities. The authorities were also instructed to provide them with these necessities on war-footing.
The petitioner had submitted that thousands of migrant labourers were without food and shelter, and were loitering in the railway stations. They should be provided with food, shelter and medical facilities, the petitioner said.
While offering the direction, the bench also recorded the submission of Additional Solicitor General G Rajagopalan that comprehensive directions had been given by the Supreme Court and the same was being followed. The migrant labourers were not charged even for train travel as per the Supreme Court’s order, he said, seeking time to file a comprehensive report and counter.
Appearing for the government, special government pleader Thangavel submitted that the State was taking all steps to provide necessary facilities to the migrant labourers.
The court made the observations while hearing a Habeas Corpus petition seeking the production of around 400 Tamil workers who were stranded in Maharashtra. However, on finding that the said migrant workers had somehow reached Tamil Nadu but many from other States in Tamil Nadu have been pushed to hardship, the division bench led by Justice Kirubakaran offered the direction to the government. It may be noted that the bench during the earlier hearing of the plea had observed that the pathetic condition of migrant workers amid the coronavirus lock down is nothing but a grave human tragedy.