A big confusion regarding who is paying for migrant worker’s train fare – debunked!
A political storm raged on Monday over the train fare of Shramik Special trains which was arranged for the migrant workers across the country. First, Congress interim president attacked BJP government for taking fares from the migrant workers, and then BJP answered with even more lethal words.
Political slugfest regarding the travel fare?
Sonia Gandhi said that if we can bring people from foreign countries for free and can spend 100 crores on a foreign delegate visit (Namaste Trump) why can’t we make the travel free for poor migrant labourers? BJP minister Prakash Javadekar returned the favour by blaming Congress for not paying the 15 per cent fare in Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
Notably, it all started when the Central government allowed the stranded students and migrant workers to head back home. The Railway ministry arranged a special train named “Shramik Special” train for the migrant workers to reach their respective states.
When news broke that the migrant workers had to pay the fare for their travel, political parties jumped into it and created a ruckus. Congress blamed BJP, and BJP blamed Congress. Apart from Congress, CPI-M, the National Conference and the Loktantrik Janata Dal also criticized the government saying that migrant workers can’t afford to pay travel fare.
Who is actually paying the fare then?
The Railway ministry said that they are bearing 85 per cent of the total cost of running the trains. They are charging only 15 per cent of the total cost incurred by Indian Railway from the state government. Indian Railways said that these trains are running at much lower capacity as they are following social distancing norms.
Train tickets are not being sold on train stations, only those people are allowed to board the train whose names are provided by the state authorities.
A statement issued by Railway ministry suggested that the sending state has to pay the consolidated fare to Indian Railways. The 15 per cent cost will be either borne by the state government or the passengers by the sending state, or by the mutual consultation with receiving state.
Some state governments have charged money from travelers while some have not. Union minister Prakash Javadekar said that only Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Kerala are not paying the travel fare and are asking the migrants to pay.
According to a report of leading daily , migrant workers were made to pay over Rs 600 for boarding a Shramik Express train to Uttar Pradesh. One traveller was asked to pay to travel from Surat to Jharkhand. Clearly, the Gujrat government also asked the migrants to pay for their travel fare.
The railway is charging the fare of sleeper class tickets in express/mail trains along with a super-fast charge of Rs 30 and an additional charge of Rs 20 for the Shramik special trains.
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