New Delhi: Amid the reports of migrants being asked to pay for their rail tickets, Indian Railways on Monday clarified that it is charging only standard fare from the state governments which is just 15 per cent of the total cost incurred by the respected ministry. Also Read - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Counting on Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford to Boost Manchester United's Season Run on Premier League Return
“Indian Railways is running Shramik special trains keeping berths empty in each coach to maintain social distancing. The trains are returning empty from destinations under lock & key. Free food and bottled water is being given to migrants by railways”, news agency ANI quoted sources as saying. Also Read - Richa Chadha Opens up on Wedding Preparations With Ali Fazal, Says 'Will Take Call Only When Normalcy Returns'
It added,”Railways is not selling any tickets to migrants and is only boarding passengers based on lists provided by states.” Also Read - 'Will Defeat Coronavirus Under CM Thackeray's Leadership': Maharashtra Minister Raut Slams Centre, BJP | Watch
This comes soon after Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi said that the grand old party would bear the cost for the rail travel of migrant workers and labourers.
Hitting out at the Narendra Modi-led government for asking the migrants to pay for their train travel, Sonia had asserted that the Centre barely gave a four-hour notice of the lockdown, so workers and migrant labourers were denied the opportunity to return to their homes.
Besides, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had also lambasted the government asking it to ‘solve the puzzle’. In a tweet, Rahul Gandhi said, “On one hand railways is charging for the tickets of the stranded labourers and workers in different states while on the other hand it contributed Rs 151 crore to the PMCARES fund. Solve this puzzle.”
The railways has decided to run the Shramik Special trains to transport the students, labourers, pilgrims and tourists across the country. The first Shramik Special train with 1,200 passengers started on May 1 from Telangana to Jharkhand almost 40 days after the passenger, mail and express trains services were suspended.
Since then railways has operated over 25 such trains on the request of the state governments.