Barring Maharashtra, all other states paying train fare for migrant workers, claims report

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After opposition parties came down heavily on the central government for charging fares from migrant workers for ferrying them home, sources have clarified that payments for 34 Shramik Special trains that have been run so far have been made by the state governments, barring Maharashtra.

The clarification came after interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi criticised the government and directed party units to collect money and for the migrants. The Railways had earlier stated its inability to bear the cost as it was running the trains by incurring heavy loss

"The railways are running Shramik special trains keeping berths empty in each coach to maintain social distancing. The trains are returning empty from destinations under lock and key. Free food and bottled water is being given to migrants by the railways. We have run 34 such trains so far and we will continue to do so," said a senior official of the railways.

Sources said states like Rajasthan, Telangana, where Shramik Special trains have originated, are paying for the migrants, while the Gujarat government has roped in an NGO to pay part of the travel cost, sources said.

Maharashtra state minister Nitin Raut has written a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray requesting him to bear the travel cost of migrants leaving the state. On Sunday, Raut also wrote to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal requesting that the railways bear the cost of transportation of migrants from the state.

Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in a video statement on Monday said the state government has been giving money to railways for the transport of migrants. The chief minister said that no fare will also be charged from students returning to the state by special trains.

He said that the migrant workers, who have already bought the ticket by paying money, will be reimbursed the expenses incurred, besides getting additional assistance, after they complete the mandatory 21-day quarantine (with inputs from agencies)

Image Credit: Theological Indian.

 

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