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Send migrant workers home within a fortnight, SC tells Centre

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre and state governments to ensure that all migrants are sent home within a fortnight. It has also asked that a skill mapping of such migrants be done so that the government can formulate employment schemes for them to ensure their rehabilitation.

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MR Shah also directed the Centre to provide additional trains within 24 hours of states making the demand for sending the migrant workers back to their native places, a news agency reported.

Media reports said the apex court has also asked authorities to consider withdrawing all cases against migrant workers for alleged violation of lockdown norms under the Disaster Management Act. The bench also asked the state to adequately publicise schemes for migrant workers employment and also consider offering them counselling.

The top court on June 5 had reserved its order on the suo motu case registered on the plights of migrant workers during the coronavirus-triggered lockdown period. The court had also on May 28 stated that they should not be charged train or bus fare and should be provided food free of cost.

The Centre in its submission had said it has done its ‘best’ and that till June 3, over 4,200 Shramik Special trains have been deployed to transport migrant workers to their native places.