MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Tuesday directed the state government to clarify who will pay for medical screening as well as transportation of migrant workers who wish to return home.
Via video-conference, Justice Suresh Gupte heard three PILs by NGOs and Sarva Hara Jan Andolan, a union, which highlighted the plight of migrants following the Covid-19 lockdown in Mumbai.
The NGOs’ advocates, Kranti L C and Ronita Bector, submitted that following the Congress and the Centre’s announcements, as the state government is a coalition, it must bear all transportation costs of migrants, including by bus. On Monday, Congress had announced it will bear the expense of train tickets of migrants. The Central government had immediately said the railways will bear 85% of the ticket cost while the remaining 15% will be paid by the states.
Justice Gupte said the Central and state governments must coordinate and inform the court at the next hearing on May 8 how this would be implemented.
Kranti told the court migrant workers were incurring expenses to obtain medical certificates before they can return home and these should be borne by the state government.
When asked by the judge who will pay for the medical screenings, the government advocate admitted that the policy was silent on this aspect and he would like to take instructions. The court directed the state to clarify the issue.