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Home / Opinion / Quick Edit /  Opinion| Too little, too late

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Centre and states to transport outstation workers stranded in various places back home in 15 days, and give them work. The lockdown that began on 25 March had left millions trapped in our cities without sufficient means to get by. The court also asked authorities to consider withdrawing cases against labourers for lockdown violations, many of which could be attributed to survival compulsions.

The order should spell relief for those unable to get trains or buses to far-off villages, and were faced with the grim prospect of making arduous journeys along highways by foot, as thousands did over the past few weeks. But beyond that, there’s no cause for cheer in the court’s intervention. It is simply too late to save vast multitudes the misery they have already endured. Livelihoods have been lost at a shocking scale, and quite a few lives, too. Now, while workers head for villages where work is scarce, urban employers find themselves short of labour. As our economy reopens, a labour crunch could delay a recovery. We are no strangers to delayed responses, but timely help often makes all the difference.

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