Sunday, December 3, 2023

Uttarakhand HC Gives State Govt “24 Hour Ultimatum” To Detail Steps Taken To Mitigate Migrant Miseries

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The Uttarakhand High Court has given the State Government precisely 24 hours to file its response on the measures it has taken to alleviate the miseries of 40,000 migrant workers in Uttarakhand and to detail the steps taken under the National Food Security Act, 2013.

The courts direction came following a PIL filed about the plight of migrant workers in the State. The bench comprising Justices Sudhanshu Dhulia, and Ravindra Maithani directed the State Govt to give detail of the steps taken under the National Food Security Act, 2013 and the identification of eligible households and supply of foodgrains on their doorsteps, as well as identification of inter-State migrant workmen under the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Condition of Service) Act, 1979, so as to ensure their safety, security and well-being.

“The first is the plight of the migrant workers in the State. As per the estimates of the learned AdvocateGeneral himself, their strength is around 40,000 inUttarakhand. However, no satisfactory reply has yet been given as to what positive measures have been taken by the State Government to take care of these migrant workers, who wish to stay in Uttarakhand. We make it very clear that the State Government cannot do away with this responsibility on grounds that they are residents of another State. They are all citizens of India, and the State must be as concerned of them as of any other who resides in the State…,” Said the Court.

Similarly, for those who want to leave Uttarakhand for their home town/home State, what positive measures have been taken by the State have not been disclosed before this Court”, the Court noted in its order.

The second issue raised by the petitioner before the court was that as per the Government estimate itself around two lakh persons who wish to comeback to Uttarakhand have by now registered. These are the persons who are outside the State of Uttarakhand but wish to come back to Uttarakhand and as per the estimates of the Government itself around 25,000 of them might be infected with the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The court said that the state has not disclosed on what effective measures the State Government has taken for the safety of those who will now enter Uttarakhand and also for safety of those who are residing in Uttarakhand, from these persons. The learned Advocate General said that persons who enter Uttarakhand are not mandatorily required to submit a COVID-19 negative certificate.

-India Legal Bureau

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