Chennai, Apr 30 () The Centre on Thursday informed theMadras High Court that a Special Nodal officer has been appointed at the Indian mission in the Maldives to reach out to Indian migrants in the island nation for any help, including medical facilities, in view of the COVID-19 situation.
Justices M Sathyanarayanan and M Nirmal Kumar, before whom the submission was made by the Centre’s counsel, directed the government to file details about the appointment.
The directive was given during the video conference hearing of a PIL by an advocate from Kanyakumari district which sought a direction for appointment of the nodal officer citing the plight of Indian migrants in the Maldives.
After Centre’s senior panel counsel Srinivasa Moorthyinformed that the officer had already been appointed, the bench directed him to file details and posted the matter for further hearing to May 12.
The petitioner who filed his plea based on a media report and an online petition filed by Kanyakumari MP H Vasanthakumarsubmitted that around 29,000 Indian migrant workers, including nurses, teachers, doctors, engineers and unskilled personnel, were in the Maldives with around 22,000 in Male, the capital city.
Several of the Indians at the Maldives have stated that there were no sufficient quarantine and medical facilities in the Maldives to treat the patients for COVID19 and posted pictures on social media about “unhygienic” conditions at a shelter. I further understand that the migrant workers are not even having enough food as they could not access the bank or ATMs in this lockdown situation, besides there are no hotels/restaurants opened to avail the food,” the petitioner said.
Hence, he wanted a Special Nodal Officer for COVID-19 to enable the Indian migrants to reach out for any sort of help.
He also sought setting up of a free testing facility at the Indian Mission at Male, hygienic quarantine accommodation and arrangements to airlift them.
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