BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court on Friday directed the state government to place on record the measures taken with regard to the operation of Shramik trains for migrant workers in line with the Railways notification dated May 2. A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice BV Nagarathna issued this direction while hearing PILs on the state government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis, including an application on the plight of migrant workers filed by the All India Central Council of Trade Unions.
The bench also observed that the question of the state government restricting migrant workers’ travel does not arise when the ministry of home affairs (MHA) had permitted it and issued guidelines to states in this regard. The bench said the state would have to frame a clear policy on how it would arrange conveyance, the criteria for travel, how people will be chosen etc.
“The consequence of migrant workers walking to reach their homes could result in loss of lives as they may die in accidents, or due to hunger, etc., as has been reported,” the bench noted. Counsel for one of the petitioners, AICCTU, Clifton Rozario earlier argued that builders were forcing workers to remain on construction sites with police help. Additional Advocate General Dhyan Chinappa said the state government was making arrangements for workers to return to their home states according to guidelines issued by the MHA.