The Central government on Tuesday filed a status report in the Supreme Court on a petition seeking directions to provide basic amenities like food, water and shelter to the migrant workers across the country in the wake to coronavirus lockdown.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and also comprising of Justice L Nageswar Rao continued hearing the petition filed by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava through video conferencing today.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, filed a detailed status report pertaining to the case and said that food is being provided to over 22 lakh 88 thousand people, including the needy, migrant and daily wage workers.
CJI Bobde asked the Mehta to set up an expert committee within 24 hours to effectively deal with the situation.
Mehta told the apex court that there were about 4.14 crore people in the country who have migrated for work according to the last census.
“Now the migration is happening due to corona fears. When the entire country was required to be locked, it was so that people don’t mix and can’t meet. We are trying to ensure that no migration is permissible,” he said.
He said that the migration will be risky for them and for the village populations and added that so far rural India is unaffected by COVID-19. Mehta said that the country has fortunately taken pre-emptive and preventive steps to deal with COVID-19 pandemic.
Mehta said that the information about the new virus came out on January 5, 2020, and added that the Central government started its preparations to deal with it from January 17.
“So far, we have been able to contain the spread of the virus much to our satisfaction. We took necessary and effective steps much ahead of many other countries. We started thermal screening at airports, seaports before cases were detected in India,” he told the court.