CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Saturday termed the plight of the migrant workers as shown in the media as a "human tragedy", saying "one cannot control his/her tears" on seeing that. The court also queried the Central government on the number of migrant workers who had breathed their last enroute their home states, besides mentioning several migrant workers who were run over by a goods train in Aurangabad some days back while they were sleeping on the track at night.
The court asked the Central government whether it maintained any data of the number of migrant workers in different states and if they were allowed to cross state borders.
Pointing at the sufferings of the migrant workers, the court said that nothing has been done for them in the past one month despite the media reporting the hardships faced by them.
The court said it was the duty of the states from where the migrant workers hailed and the states where they worked to take care of their well-being.
The court also asked the government about the steps taken to transport the remaining people to their home states and whether workers' migration could lead to the spread of coronovirus.
Later, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said the state plans to send 10,000 migrant workers per day to their home states and has requested them to stay at the camps till the arrangements are made.
According to the Chief Minister, 55,473 migrant workers have returned to different states like Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal in 43 trains between May 6 and May 15.
Palaniswami said the Tamil Nadu government was bearing the entire expenditure for train and food and requested the migrant workers not to try to return to their home states on foot or by any other means.
"With their employers neglecting them and not paying them wages and because of the transport shutdown, the workers are left with no other option," R. Geetha, Additional Secretary, Nirman Mazdoor Panchayat Mazdoor Sangam said.
She said the workers were staying in tin sheds, which became unbearable in this scorching heat. Geetha said the state government had provided 15 kg rice, 1 kg oil and pulses to them, but they had no money to buy vegetables. (IANS)