directed the railway authorities to waive one-way train ticket
charges of migrant workers, or the state government should
bear the cost as an alternative arrangement.
It said the government''s response to a PIL seeking the
court''s direction for free transportation of migrant workers
stranded due to the lockdown reflects that travel charges
levied by the railway authorities are borne by a few host
states, NGOs, employers, voluntary associations, and "this is
"We direct the railway authorities to waive one-way
charges of these migrant labourers or in the alternative, for
the state government to bear such charges," a division bench
of Justices J B Pardiwala and I J Vora said on Friday.
The court''s order came after the Vijay Rupani
government said in a written reply that out of 22.5 lakh
migrant workers in Gujarat, only 7,512 were registered under
the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act and they were thus,
eligible for travel allowance.
"The state government shall ensure that migrant
workers do not have to face further difficulties for the
purpose of travelling to their native places. The work in this
regard shall continue in the right direction," the court said
in an order.
The state government told the court that nearly 22.5
lakh inter-state migrant workers lived in Gujarat, as per the
state labour department''s data. But, provisions of the Inter-
State Migrant Workmen Act were applicable to only 7,512
workers who were registered under it.
"Most of the 22.5 lakh migrant workers have come on
their own and provisions for payment of travel and
displacement allowances, as required under Sections 14 and 15
of the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, were not applicable to
them," it said..
Under sections 14 and 15 of the Act, contractors are
required to pay travel and displacement allowances to workers.
The state government told the court that the Railways
had been collecting transportation charges from workers even
though travel arrangements were being made at the district-
level by NGOs and civil society organisations.
States, including Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil
Nadu, have said they would reimburse travel expenses to the
Railways directly, it said.
"No migrant worker has been denied travel to his
hometown on account of non-payment of travel charges," the
Gujarat government claimed.
Following the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, over 11
lakh migrant workers have so far left from Gujarat for their
native places by Shramik Special trains. PTI KAPD