NEWS
06/05/2020 3:59 PM IST | Updated 06/05/2020 4:58 PM IST

As Tejasvi Surya Defends Karnataka Govt, Trade Unions Move Court Against Train Cancellation

The AICCTU moved the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday asking for an urgent hearing

Migrant workers wait for transportation to leave for their hometowns in Bengaluru on April 30, 2020.

As BJP MP Tejaswi Surya defended the Karnataka government’s decision to cancel trains for migrant workers to return to their home state, the state chapter of the All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) moved court saying the order violated the rights of workers.

The Karnataka government wrote to the Railways on Tuesday to cancel all trains it had requested for migrant workers after Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa met with property builders in the state.

An official who attended the meeting with the builders told The Quint that it had been decided migrant workers were needed to revive the state’s economy.

The AICCTU moved the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday asking for an urgent hearing, Mustafa Plumber reported for LiveLaw. “The stand of the State Government is in violation of the fundamental rights of the workers protected under Article 19(1)(d) and Article 14 of the Constitution,” the council said in its memo to the court.

BJP MP Tejwasi Surya, who represents Bengaluru South, claimed the state government’s decision would help migrant labourers “restart their dreams”.

In a relief package announced on Wednesday, Yediyurappa said the state would provide Rs 3,000 to each of 15.80 lakh registered building workers in the state, over and above the Rs 2,000 that has already being transferred to their accounts.

The state government also announced financial support of Rs. 5,000 for auto and taxi drivers who have lost their income due to lockdown and a one-time compensation of Rs 5,000 for professions like barbers and washermen.

However, the Press Trust of India reported migrant workers were worried about staying on in the state and contracting COVID-19. Many were also running out of money and food.

On Monday, labourers from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal had protested in Bengaluru demanding that they be sent home. According to NDTV, the migrants marched towards the Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) and also blocked the Bengaluru-Tumakuru highway for some time.

The state’s principal secretary said on Wednesday that around 10,000 labourers who wanted to return to Bihar had been accommodated at BEIC. State revenue minister R Ashoka met the workers here on Tuesday to assure them they would be sent home as soon as possible.

But the late Tuesday, the government wrote to the Railways withdrawing its request for trains to transport them.