Congress to bear the cost for rail travel of workers and migrant labourer, says Sonia Gandhi, slams Centre

Opposition leaders on Sunday criticised the railway ministry’s decision to charge migrant workers stranded in other parts of the country during the coronavirus-induced lockdown for taking special trains home.

Written by May 4, 2020 08:37

New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday said that the Indian National Congress has taken a decision that every Pradesh Congress Committee shall bear the cost for the rail travel of every needy worker and migrant labourer and shall take necessary steps in this regard.

Sonia Gandhi lauds coronavirus warriors, urges people to follow lockdown rules

She said that Congress had taken the decision as the Centre and Rail Ministry had completely ignored party’s repeated requests to ensure provisions of “safe and free rail travel of migrant workers and labourers to their home-towns.” “Indian National Congress has taken a decision that every Pradesh Congress Committee shall bear the cost for the rail travel of every needy worker and migrant labourer and shall take necessary steps in this regard. This will be the Indian National Congress’ humble contribution in service of our compatriots and to stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with them,” a statement issued by the Congress interim President read.

She stressed upon the importance of workers terming them “ambassadors of our nation’s growth” and alleged “when the Rail Ministry has the largesse to donate Rs. 151 Crores to the PM’s Corona fund, then why can’t these essential members of our nation’s fabric be given a fraction of the same courtesy, especially free rail travel, at this hour of acute distress?”

“Our workers and labourers form the backbone of our economy. Their hard work and
sacrifice are the foundation of our nation,” the statement read.
She equated the lockdown phase with that of post-partition and said, “Post the partition of 1947, this is the first time India witnessed a tragedy with such a massive human cost as thousands of migrant workers and labourers were forced to walk home several hundred kilometres on foot- without food, without medicines, without money, without transportation, without anything except for the desire to return to their families and loved ones.”

Statement

 

 

Criticism by Opposition

Opposition leaders on Sunday criticised the railway ministry’s decision to charge migrant workers stranded in other parts of the country during the coronavirus-induced lockdown for taking special trains home.

Special train carrying migrant workers departs from Sabarmati for Agra

The Centre on Friday started operating special trains to move migrant workers, pilgrims and students stranded in various states. However, the Railway Board has announced extra charges in addition to the normal sleeper class fare to be collected from the passengers. “The local state government authority shall handover tickets to passengers cleared by them and collect the ticket fare and hand over the total amount to railways,” the circular said.