BJP leader Sambit Patra said that BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh is paying 15% of the ticket fare and advised Rahul Gandhi to ask Congress-ruled states to follow suit.
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday slammed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his remarks claiming that the Indian Railways was collecting train fare from stranded migrant workers going back home. Countering the claim, party spokesperson Sambit Patra said that the Railways has subsidised 85% of ticket fare for migrant workers to facilitate their return home. He said that the state governments have to pay the remaining 15% of the ticket, not the workers.
Patra also referred to the Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines to underline that no sale of tickets will be allowed at stations to ferry the migrant workers. “Rahul Gandhi ji, I have attached guidelines of MHA which clearly states that no tickets to be sold at any station,” Patra tweeted.
“Railways has subsidised 85% and state government to pay 15%. The State government can pay for the tickets,” he said.
Patra said that BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh is paying 15% of the ticket fare and advised Rahul Gandhi to ask Congress-ruled states to follow suit.
Patra explained that for each Shramik Express, about 1,200 tickets to the destination are handed by the Railways to the state government concerned. States are supposed to clear the ticket price and hand over the tickets to workers.
His remarks come after former Rahul Gandhi slammed the Modi government for collecting ticket fare from migrant workers. In a tweet shared in Hindi, Rahul said while Railways is asking poor labourers to pay for their travel, it has donated Rs 151 crore to the PM Cares Funds.
“On one hand, the Railways is extorting ticket fare from labourers stranded in different states, on the other hand the Rail Ministry is depositing donations of Rs 151 crore in PM Cares fund,” he tweeted. “Please solve this puzzle,” Rahul Gandhi said.
Earlier this morning, Congress president Sonia Gandhi accused the Modi government and the Railways of ignoring her party’s demands for ensuring the safe and free travel of migrant workers. She said that the Congress’ state units will bear the cost of rail travel of needy migrant workers and labourers stranded at their workplaces.
Meanwhile, the Railways has clarified that the national transporter is charging only standard fare from state governments which is just 15% of the total cost incurred by the Railways. “Railways is not selling any tickets to migrants and is only boarding passengers based on lists provided by States,” Railway Ministry sources told ANI.
Lakhs of migrant workers are stranded in different cities due to the coronavirus-forced lockdown that was announced on March 24 night. Majority of them are from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The lockdown has been extended twice since then. The government suspended the rail, road and air traffic during the lockdown to prevent mass movement of the people to prevent the transmission of the disease. The third phase of the lockdown which comes into effect from today will end on May 17.
The virus has killed over 1,300 people and infected more than 43,000 people in India. Globally, it has claimed more than 2.50 lakh lives and infected over 35 lakh people.