Skip to main content

Stranded migrants of South Gujarat: High Court says it 'trusts' state govt steps

By Our Representative 
The Gujarat High Court has said it “expects and trusts” that the state would be “vigilant and do its best” to ensure the safety of nearly sugarcane 90,000 workers from Maharashtra, working as sugarcane workers in four South Gujarat districts -- Bharuch, Surat, Valsad and Navsari – as also several lakh inter-state migrants from Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal -- but stranded in South Gujarat following the lockdown announced on March 24 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The observation, which came in a writ petition filed by senior counsel Anand Yagnik, followed advocate general Kamal Trivedi stated that that the “government is not only bound to but has already taken up the grievances”, even as assuring the court that “all necessary steps would be taken in this regard, if not already taken.”
“In view of the assurance given by learned advocate general, this petition does not require any further consideration and accordingly it stands disposed of. The Court expects and trusts that the State would be vigilant and do its best to ensure that all necessary help is provided to the categories disclosed by Yagnik in his note”, observed the court.
The observation by High Court bench consisting of Chief JusticeVikram Nath and Justice Ashutosh Shastri was made during the hearing of 18 public interest litigations (PILs) alleging hardships faced by marginalized sections of society. Asked if the court’s remark meant that the government is now duty bound to provide necessary relief to stranded migrants, Yagnik told Counterview, “The bench did not give any specific directions.”
In a note submitted to the High Court, Yagnik had submitted that sugarcane migrant workers, known as “koita”, consisting of round 90,000 workers from Maharashtra, and 38,000 families, all of whom worked as sugarcane workers in Bharuch, Surat, Valsad and Navsari districts of South Gujarat, are “stranded”, and as the harvesting season is yet to come to an end, the workers have not been paid wages by the farmers and contractors, who employed them.
Worse, he said, the workers are not being allowed to live in villages because of the apprehension surrounding the spread of coronavirus, hence they are living in clusters, wherever they could. “No wages by employer and no assistance of any sort have been provided to them till date”, he said, citing information he received from Dr Kiran Desai of the Centre for Social Studies, Surat, and Sudhir Katiyar of the NGO Prayas.
As for the inter-state migrant workers in Surat city and surrounding areas, mostly working in textile and diamond polishing sectors, the note, even as citing specific sources, said, around 10 lakh inter-state migrants from Odisha, UP, Bihar and West Bengal are stranded in Varaccha, Paandesara, Vadod, Bamroli, Bhestan, Unn, Laskana, Sayan, Delhad and Pipodara (Kim) areas.
Then, the note continued, in around 2.5 to 3 lakh construction workers from Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal are stranded in, South Surat, Sachin and adjoining areas From Umra to Udhana Magdalla and Magdalla to Sachin, Dumas, Bhatar Althan Bamroli. 
Also stranded, said the note, are 1.5 lakh workers in the Hazira industrial belt, all of whom worked in ONGC, L&T, Kribhko, Reliance, Adani, Essar, Shell, and IOC, and about 35,000 truck drivers and conductors, all of whom are staying in “clusters and colonies mushroomed in the agricultural farms” in Hazira, Juna Gav (Shivrampura), Mora, Bhatlai, Damka, Rajgari, Ichhapur, Bhatpor, Bhatha, and Kavash.
Ever since the lockdown, the workers have been starving and no proper food security has been provided by the Gujarat government
Yagnik complained, the inter-state migrant workers working in these sectors “do not receive food regularly”, adding, “Whenever food is provided it is in very less quantity and the quality too is very abysmal. Ever since the lockdown, the workers have been starving and no proper food security has been provided by the state.”
Regretting that no assistance in the form of cash and kind has been provided, he said, these workers have not been provided with any sort of material or assistance to maintain their hygiene and hence are at a larger risk of getting infected.
Even as making similar observations to other writ petitions, the High Court bench regretted that the some of the civil applications and PILs filed “are genuine, although without facts, figures and foundations, and not even complying to the requirements under the rules of court for presenting PILs”, hence were being disposed of.
“The court would have appreciated the cause being raised by the champions of public interest and social activists had they actually been helping the state machinery by intimating their concerns to the learned advocate general, public prosecutor and government pleader as suggested by Kamal Trivedi … rather than approaching the court”, it said.
Referring to a petition containing 20 reliefs relating to social security, water, sanitation, food security, health, housing, education, communicating, etc., the bench observed, “This is one of those writ petitions which has been filed recklessly and without any sense of responsibility. Simply prayers of anything and everything under the sun have been claimed.”
Meanwhile, the Gujarat government, in an order, has appointed eight senior IAS bureaucrats for various special duties related to Covid-19 relief work, including for monitoring of all Covid-19 patients on ventilators and coordinating with doctors, activities in hospitals in the Ahmedabad, and providing food and shelter to labourers etc. in Gujarat, especially Surat.

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Labelling a Jesuit a Marxist? It's like saying if you use a plane, you become American

Jesuits: Cedric Prakash, Stan Swamy By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* A thirteen- fourteen-year-old has many dreams! That's an impressionable age; at the cusp of finishing school. It is also a time when one tastes a different kind of freedom: to go for camps with boys of your own age (not with ones family). Such camps and outings were always enjoyed to the hilt. The ones, however, which still remain etched in my memory are the mission camps to the Jesuit missions in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Did Modi promote Dholavira, a UNESCO site now, as Gujarat CM? Facts don't tally

By Rajiv Shah  As would generally happen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweet – that not only was he “absolutely delighted” with the news of UNESCO tag to Dholavira, but he “ first visited ” the site during his “student days and was mesmerised by the place” – is being doubted by his detractors. None of the two tweets, strangely, even recalls once that it’s a Harappan site in Gujarat.

Giant conglomerates 'favoured': Whither tribal rights for jal-jungle-jameen?

Prafull Samantara By Mohammad Irshad Ansari*  The struggle for “Jal, Jungle and Jameen” has been a long-drawn battle for the tribal communities of India. This tussle was once again in the limelight with the proposed diamond mining in the Buxwaha forest of Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh). The only difference in this movement was the massive social media support it gained, which actually seems to tilt the scale for the tribal people in a long time.

If not Modi, then who? Why? I (an ordinary citizen) am there! Main hoon naa!

By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  The number of women ministers is doubled in early July from the first term after cabinet reshuffle by the present government led by Narendra Modi. While there were 06 women ministers in the previous term, this term there are 11. The previous two governments led by Dr Manmohan Singh had 10 women ministers in each tenure. Are these number of women ministers something to rejoice in the near 75 years of independence? Yes maybe, if we think that things are slowly improving in the patriarchal system. This change is less likely to achieve gender balance in the parliament otherwise we require more than 11 as per the 33% reservation . This change is also less likely because the men politicians’ inability to handle the country’s mess is becoming more and more evident and especially during the corona crisis. Seems, the addition of more women ministers may be a result of the recent assembly elections where women played a decisive role in the election results. For example

Tussle between Modi-led BJP govt, Young India 'key to political battle': NAPM

Counterview Desk  In its month-long campaign, civil rights network National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM) carried out what it called Young People's Political Persecution and Resistance in “solidarity with all comrades facing political persecution and remembering human rights defender Stan Swamy…”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Gujarat govt gender insensitive? Cyclone package for fisherfolk 'ignores' poor women

By Our Representative A memorandum submitted to the Gujarat government by various fisherfolk associations of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat under the leadership of Ahmedabad NGO Centre for Social Justice's senior activist Arvind Khuman, who is based in Amreli, has suggested that the relief package offered to the fishermen affected by the Tauktae cyclone is not only inadequate, it is also gender insensitive.

Debt bondage, forced labour, sexual abuse in Gujarat's Bt cottonseed farms: Dutch study

By Rajiv Shah  A just-released study, sponsored by a Netherlands-based non-profit, Arisa , “Seeds of Oppression Wage sharecropping in Bt cottonseed production in Gujarat, India”, has said that a new form of bondage, or forced labour, exists in North India’s Bt cottonseed farms, in which bhagiyas, or wage sharecroppers, are employed against advances and are then often required to work for years together “without regular payment of wages.”

Covid: We failed to stop religious, political events, admits Modi-dharmacharya meet

Counterview Desk An email alert sent by one the 11 participants, Prof Salim Engineer, on behalf of the Dharmik Jan Morcha regarding their "religious leaders' online meet" with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even as offering "support to meet challenges of Corona pandemic", blames religious congregations, though without naming the Maha Kumbh and other religious events, which apparently were instrumental in the spread of the second wave.