After the central government has permitted the operation of special trains to take migrants back to their hometowns, a debate on who will bear the cost has been going on.
Coronavirus lockdown: After the central government has permitted the operation of special trains to take migrants back to their hometowns, a debate on who will bear the cost has been going on. Indian Railways has also been criticised by many for charging fees from migrants who are stranded due to Coronavirus lockdown. Amid this, many states have said that they will be paying the cost for all the migrants who wish to return to their homes. This brings to the question of why are state ministers fighting over railway fees.
Sanjay Kumar Jha, a minister from Bihar has claimed that Delhi government is asking for reimbursement from Bihar government after paying travel fare for 1,200 migrants. “On one hand you are taking credit saying you are sending them back your money & on the other hand you are asking the Bihar government to return the money,” ANI quoted Sanjay Kumar Jha as saying.
The matter soon turned into a debate as Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendra Jain replied to Jha and said that the migrant workers have been living in shelter homes for almost two months now, and it is not fair to take money for railway fare from them. He further said that since they do not have any source of income to pay for tickets, therefore the Delhi government has paid for the tickets.
On one hand you are taking credit saying you are sending them back on your money & on the other hand you are asking Bihar government to return the money: Sanjay Kumar Jha, Bihar Minister https://t.co/kFvyhXg84C
— ANI (@ANI) May 9, 2020
This further took a turn when another leader from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) clarified the reason for the Delhi government paying first. He shared a document rolled out by the Bihar government that said the government will reimburse the fare paid by the migrant workers upon their arrival in Bihar. Since, the Bihar government, as well as Indian railways, have asked migrants to pay and the migrant labour did not have money for tickets, Delhi government paid for it.
रेलवे कह रही पहले पैसा दो तब ट्रेन चलेगी बिहार सरकार कह रही है पहले मज़दूरों से ले लो हम बाद में दे देंगे दिल्ली सरकार ने कहा “हम मज़दूरों को पैसा नही देने देंगे इसलिये पहले ही रेलवे को चेक से भुगतान कर दिया” किसको बेवक़ूफ़ बना रहे हैं नीतीश जी और भाजपाई? pic.twitter.com/itphKfor9M
— Sanjay Singh AAP (@SanjayAzadSln) May 9, 2020
Meanwhile, according to a report by PTI, all governments except Maharashtra have been paying for railway fare to ferry passengers to their hometowns.