New Delhi: Days after Congress President Sonia Gandhi asked her party’s state units to pay for the train fare of the migrant workers, the All India Railwaymen’s Federation on Thursday urged the Congress chief to refrain from indulging in petty politics over the fare of Shramik Special trains. Also Read - 'Don't Want Our Villages to Become Italy': Centre's Dig at Sonia Gandhi's Aid For Migrants
Addressing a press conference, the All India Railwaymen’s Federation General Secretary Shivgopal Mishra said that the Railways charged money to prevent overcrowding at stations. Also Read - 'In Service of Compatriots', Congress to Bear The Cost For Rail Travel of Migrant Workers, Says Sonia Gandhi
“We’ve written to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and requested her that at this time everybody should unite and nothing should be spread in country reflecting differences between people managing things and those sitting in opposition,” Mishra said.
Writing a letter to Sonia Gandhi, Railways Union said travelling during the coronavirus pandemic is dangerous but railway staffers are making it possible through their hard work.
“I request not to destabilise a good system which is enabling migrants to return home in 115 special trains because of petty momentary political gains,” Mishra said.
The move to charge the migrant workers has been taken with the view that the overcrowding at railway stations could lead to the spread of coronavirus.
The development comes after Sonia Gandhi in a meeting with the chief ministers of all Congress-ruled states said that state units of her party would pay for the migrants’ fare.
To bring back the migrant workers to their native states, the Indian Railways started running Shramik Special trains from May 1. Since then, the Opposition parties have been accusing the government of charging money from the labourers for the train journey.
The central government, however, has said 85 per cent of the fare is being borne by the Railways and the remaining 15 per cent is borne by the state government on whose request a train is being run.
As of Wednesday, the Railways said it has ferried home over 1.35 lakh migrant workers in more than 140 Shramik Special trains.