New Delhi: Amid war of words between the central government and the opposition over migrants being ‘charged’ for journey back to their native places via trains, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar on Monday announced that workers from Bihar, who arrive here from other states, will be given a minimum amount of Rs 1,000 after spending 21 days in a quarantine centre on returning to the state. Also Read - 'Don't Want Our Villages to Become Italy': Centre's Dig at Sonia Gandhi's Aid For Migrants
Notably, the Bihar CM, who is scheduled to face an election later this year, has come under fire for objecting to workers and students returning to Bihar, arguing that this would lead to a spurt of COVID-19 cases in the state, thus rendering the lockdown ‘useless.’ Also Read - No Money in PM-CARES For Migrants? Controversy Erupts as Railways Asks States to Pay For Train Rides
“I want to thank the Centre for considering the suggestion to run special trains to send the people of Bihar who are stranded in other states, back to Bihar. Nobody will have to pay for the tickets. A quarantine centre has been set up here for them,” he said in a video statement today. Also Read - 'Not Selling Tickets to Migrants, Charging Only Standard Fare From State Governments', Railways Clarifies
He further said that the returnees will have to spend 21 days at a quarantine centre will be paid a minimum of Rs 1,000 each by the state government, adding that ‘under this scheme, Rs 1,000 have already been given to 19 lakh people in the state.’
Notably, the Chief Minister’s statement also came in the wake of opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav saying that his party RJD is ready to pay for fare on behalf of poor labourers for ’50 special trains.’
Earlier today, Railways had to clarify that it was charging just 15% from state governments (with the Centre paying the remaining 85%) for migrants’ train tickets, after Congress president Sonia Gandhi, today morning, hit out at the Centre for ‘charging’ migrant labourers, and directed state units of the party to pay for tickets of the migrants’ behalf.
With six new cases today, Bihar’s overall coronavirus tally has spiked to 523.