Press Release: May 15, 2020
May 15, 2020 (FPRC) -- The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has ordered Home Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi calling for detailed report in the matter within two weeks that should include the details of the steps taken or proposed to be taken by the authorities to address the issue raised in the petition.
The order by NHRC is issued against the petition filed by Dr. Yogesh Dube, President of Bhartiya Vikas Sansthan dated 7th May 2020 highlighting the plight of migrant workers across India who are currently working away from home.
“I am glad and would like to thank NHRC and Dr. Dyaneshwar Mulay, Honorable member, NHRC for timely action taken in this matter. I am pained with the current situation of the migrants across the country. It is very disturbing to see their condition on the ground that is surfacing on various online platforms as well.” said Dr. Yogesh Dube, a National Awardee working for Divyangjans and President of Bhartiya Vikas Sansthan
The complaint was to highlight the issue of stranded migrant laborers across the country who have been rendered jobless and fighting for their basic sustenance without any money, shelter or food on account of declaration by the Central Government of nation-wide lockdown for 21 days on 24.3.2020 which was further extended till 3.5.2020 and then upto17.5.2020 in view of pandemic situation arising due to COVID-19 virus. It was further stated that the Ministry of Home Affairs had issued the above said notifications in a hastily and in an unplanned manner, after the news of mass exodus of stranded migrants came out in print, electronic and social media, without laying down uniform plan of action/standards to be followed by all States / UTs of India.
“The guidelines were silent on any uniform standards to be followed by all States / UTs of India with respect to number of bus/train, timings, local travel, social distancing measures in train, platform, and coaches, food & water facility in long distance trains, medical check-up, assigning tickets and cost of tickets.” added Adv Bindu Dubey, Secretary, Bhartiya Vikas Sansthan.
Ministry of Home Affairs vide notification dated 1.5.2020 had thrown onus on the Ministry of Railways for finalizing modalities of the travel. As per the MHA’s notification, the Ministry of Railway has been asked to designate a nodal officer for coordinating with States / UTs for the movement and for issuance of further guidelines with respect to the sale of tickets, social distancing and every safety measure.
“The chaos and confusion were caused amongst the stranded migrants who are already anxious to return to their native places and struggling for sustenance on a daily basis. It is stated that this confusion resulted in many instances of violence in various states of India.” quoted further by Dr. Yogesh Dube
The Commission has examined the complaint and has observed that the issue raised by the complainant relating to the migrant laborers across the country in the present pandemic situation is of serious nature. No doubts, both Central Government as well as State Governments are doing their best to curtail the spread of COVID-19 virus, but having regard to the decision of the Government to allow the movement of stranded migrant laborers of which majority are poor and have been out of work for more than two months, any loophole in implementation of the decision to allow such mass scale migration may prove to be disastrous in nature causing more fatalities amongst poor masses of the society if due care and preventive measures are not taken on issues raised.
The authorities have been asked to address these serious issues raised in the petition and file a report in two weeks on priority.