Of 22.5 lakh migrant workers in Gujarat, only 7,512 were registered under the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (IMW) Act and were thus eligible for travel allowance, the state government has informed the Gujarat High Court.
The provisions of the IMW Act of 1979 were applicable to only 7,512 workers who were registered under the Act, it said.
“Most of the 22.5 lakh migrant workers have come on their own and provisions for payment of travel and displacement allowances as required by section 14 and 15 of the IMW Act, 1979, were not applicable to them,” it said.
Under sections 14 and 15, contractors are required to pay travel and displacement allowances to workers.
Of 22.5 inter-state migrant workers, 11.5 lakh are employed in and around Surat alone, the government said.
By May 31, only 1.5 lakh migrant labourers would be left behind in Surat, of which 1.15 lakh had already returned to work, it said.
Around 3.94 lakh workers from other districts of Gujarat were also employed in Surat but most of them returned to their hometowns in 30,975 buses, the reply said.
States including Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu have said they would reimburse travel expenses to the Railways directly, it said.
“No migrant worker has been denied travel to his hometown on account of non-payment of travel charges,” the Gujarat government claimed.
The lockdown on account of coronavirus has seen a virtual exodus of migrants to their home states.