Gaps in government’s migrants’ transfer plan highlighted, remedies sought
A group of volunteers have pointed out several lacunae in government’s SOPs released for migrants travel.Updated: May 12, 2020 16:50 IST
A group of students, lawyers, engineers, researchers and civil society workers, who are coordinating relief for the stranded migrant labourers, has written to the union home secretary Ajay Bhalla seeking his intervention in reducing the hardships faced by the migrants.
The group, comprising of several volunteer organizations including SWAN (Stranded Workers Action Network), Covid Action Support Team (CoAST), Gram Vaani etc, has pointed out that the Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs) by the ministry of home affairs regarding travel arrangements for the stranded migrant workers fail to address several critical features.
The home secretary has also been told that even though inter-state travel for such workers has been permitted by the Centre, several states’ portals for registration list different requirements, leading to confusion and difficulties in compliance.
“For example: Haryana asks for an employer name, some states ask for the industry sector and Karnataka asks for the duration of stay in the place of work, Gujarat asks for an NOC from the state the migrant is travelling from and so on,” the letter, reviewed by HT, stated. Similarly, the registration link for migrants stranded in Delhi is not posted on the Delhi government website; rather it is on the website of Delhi Shelter Board. In other instances complicating matters, Bihar government’s portal is non-functional, it said.
On MHA’s standard operating procedures (SOP), issued on Monday, the letter states that it doesn’t detail how online and offline registrations will be coordinated and added that the logistics and the basis for allotment of passengers to trains was ‘unclear’ too.
It further pointed out that there were no protocols regarding information dissemination to workers about the travel plan and schedule in an easily accessible manner. The SOPs also don’t provide any way for workers to track their application status and that the cost considerations for the workers and the protocols for intra-state travels were not clear.
The SOPs, the letter states, also don’t provide any offline registration protocol as well as any criteria for prioritising passengers such as the elderly, differently-abled etc.
On a query by HT, there was no response from the ministry of home affairs till filing of this report.