Trains For Migrant Workers During #Lockdown: Who Will Pay The Fare? Indian Railways, Centre Or States?
Govt of India and Indian Railways have decided to run special trains called Shramik Special, for ferrying migrant workers stuck at their workplaces, and take them to their home.
On Friday, first such train started from Hyderabad to Jharkhand at 04:50AM on Friday.
Soon, 5 more trains will start: Nasik to Lucknow, Aluva to Bhubaneswar, Nasik to Bhopal, Jaipur to Patna and Kota to Hatia.
More routes are being planned by the Railways to help migrant workers reach their destinations.
However, confusion persists over the train fares.
Who is exactly going to pay the fares here? Centre or the State Govt? Indian Railways or the migrant workers?
Here are some developments, as reported in various mainstream newspapers:
Railways Will Charge Rs 50 Extra?
The Hindu reported yesterday that Railways will charge full fare of the sleeper class ticket from the passengers of Shramik Express, besides charging Rs 50 extra for amenities such as water bottle and food.
This generated lots of angry voices, as the migrant workers are without food and money since last 45 days.
Railways Want Sending States To Pay For The Fare?
Today, another report was published by Hindu, which claimed that Railways want the sending states to pay for the tickets. Hence, if a migrant worker is leaving Mumbai for UP, then Maharashtra needs to pay for the ticket.
Now, its upto Maharashtra to either charge this fare from the passenger, or make an arrangement with UP for this fare.
This story quoted a Railway Official: “As per the guidelines issued, the sending State will pay the consolidated fare to Railways. Sending State may decide to bear this cost or take it from passengers or take it from the receiving State after mutual consultation or may charge it to any fund. It is purely their prerogative,”
Centre Says Railways Will Contribute 85%, States 15%
Meanwhile, main opposition party Congress declared that they will sponsor all the tickets of migrant workers who wish to reach their homes.
Reacting to this, Centre issued a new notification, which stated that Railways will pay 85% of the ticket fare, and the state will pay the rest 15%.
Sambit Patra, spokesperson for BJP said, “Rahul Gandhi ji, I have attached guidelines of MHA which clearly states that ‘No tickets to be sold at any station’. Railways have subsidized 85% and the state government is to pay 15%. The state governments can pay for the tickets (Madhya Pradesh’s BJP government is paying). Ask Congress state governments to follow suit,”
As of now, we are still unclear on this: Who exactly will pay the train fare for the migrant workers?
We will keep you updated, as more details come in.