HC tells Aurangabad administration to provide food, medicine to migrants

Omkar Gokhale
Bombay High Court, undertrial prisoners, coronavirus outbreak, India lockdown, maharashtra news, indian express news

A group of more than 50 migrant workers have taken shelter at a zilla parishad school in Aurangabad.

The Bombay High Court last week directed Aurangabad administration to take help of voluntary organisations and cater to the food and medical requirements of migrant workers housed at a zilla parishad school.

The single-judge bench of Justice Prasanna B Varale took note of news reports that cited problems were being faced by migrant and health workers, and passed the order in suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) on April 3.

According to media reports, around 28 migrant workers had covered nearly 200 metres on foot and other means of transport in a bid to reach their hometowns in Madhya Pradesh following a nationwide lockdown to contain COVID-19 outbreak. The workers were stopped by the Aurangabad Police and provided shelter at the school.

The reports also referred to a group of more than 50 migrant workers who had taken shelter on an open ground in front of Regional Transport Office, in Aurangabad. It stated that food arrangements for the sheltered were made through voluntary organisation and disaster management teams, set up at taluka level. However, the news reports had also claimed that volunteers were facing difficulties due to lack of facilities and communication.

Justice Varale referred to the observations made by the Supreme Court on March 31 and said that the court is concerned about the migrant workers, who were unemployed due to the lockdown and had started leaving their workplaces for their home villages/towns located at distant places.

The bench has sought response from the Aurangabad Police and municipal organisation and appointed advocate Amol Joshi to assist the bench on behalf of the migrant workers.

It also said that independent organisations need to be roped in for creating awareness among people and prevent obstruction to health workers.