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Thursday 28 May 2020

Government tells SC there’s abundance of food, other essentials for poor

The government is supplying food and other humanitarian aid material to 22,88,000 poor people as of now, Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta said


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In India

केरल: पति पर पत्नी को सांप से डसवाकर मारने का आरोप

केरल के डीजीपी लोकनाथ बेहरा ने कहा, यह एक अलग तरह का मामला है, जिसकी जांच वैज्ञानिक तरीके से कराई जाएगी, यह टेस्ट राज्य से बाहर कराया जाएगा

The union government told the Supreme Court today it was supplying food to more than 22,88,000 poor people — during the hearing (via video conferencing) in a case of the alleged exodus of poor people, mostly labourers, see last weekend amid the lockdown imposed in the country to prevent the spreading of the infection of coronavirus. Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta was responding to a petition advocate AA Srivastava had filed, asking the apex court to direct the government to provide housing and drinking facilities to migrant workers.

New Delhi: Migrant workers sheltered inside a Government school #Gallery
A relief camp inside a government school in Ghazipur of Delhi

The solicitor-general said about the spectacle on Saturday and Sunday that there was a complete ban on inter-state movement, as the reverse migration could spread coronavirus to the small towns and villages. However, he added that one out of every three migrant workers who has returned him might have carried with him the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID).

The government acknowledged before the Supreme Court that these were needy people, migrants and daily-wage labourers and, therefore, those without a roof on their heads had been kept in shelters.

Food being arranged in plates for migrant workers sheltered at a relief camp set up at a school on Day 7 of the 21-day nationwide lockdown imposed as a measure to contain the spread of  ...
A relief camp in Patna

Mehta said that the government was considering counselling the poor to allay the fear instilled in them. He was responding to a comment by the court that, if needed, the government must organise “bhajans-kirtans” to stop these people from leaving for their villages.

The government told the Supreme Court bench of CJI SA Bobde and Justice L Nageswara Rao that, as per the feedback received from the home secretary, there was not a single poor man or labourer in the streets of the cities now, trying to go back to his village.

File photo of Mustafabad relief camp (Photo Courtesy: social media)
The Mustafabad relief camp

The petition also asked for a Supreme Court direction to both the Centre and the states governments, ordering medical facilities, provision of food and drink, relief camps, etc for the poor. The petition said that not only the poor but also the middle class of the country, the taxpayers, were affected.

Last Saturday during the COVID lockdown, people were overwhelmed by the sudden emergence of thousands of migrant workers in the streets of different cities — with the largest crowd seen in Delhi — rushing to bus terminuses and railway stations to return to their respective villages.

Covid-19 Relief Services by Ramakrishna Mission Saradpitha, March 2020
Relief by Ramakrishna Mission Sharadapeeth

In Delhi-NCR, thousands of them left for their homes in nearby states on foot. This was preceded by a rumour that went wild in the slums and unauthorised colonies in Delhi that there would soon be no food left for the poor — even as the relief centres for the lowest stratum of the economy was overflowing with food and philanthropists were asked to go back, as the organisers of relief camps could stock no more food and aid material.

India Covid-19 Tracker: Over 21k camps operational in India ...
A relief camp in Kolkata

The union government had completed the preparations for relief on 17 March before the lockdown was announced, Mehta told the court. And on realising that the industrial units where these labourers work would not be able to pay them, the union and state governments — as well as RSS, Ramakrishna Mission and other NGOs — increased the supply of relief material to the poor.

Meanwhile, COVID cases across the country have reached 1,251. Out of these, the China-origin biological agent is still active in 1,117 patients whereas 101 people have fully recovered.

So far, 32 people have died in the outbreak. Maharashtra tops the table with 231 cases. Kerala has 222 positive cases.

Mehta told the court that the government machinery had screened 3,48,000 people in the last 21 days.

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केरल: पति पर पत्नी को सांप से डसवाकर मारने का आरोप

केरल के डीजीपी लोकनाथ बेहरा ने कहा, यह एक अलग तरह का मामला है, जिसकी जांच वैज्ञानिक तरीके से कराई जाएगी, यह टेस्ट राज्य से बाहर कराया जाएगा

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