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Congress To Bear Train Travel Cost For Migrant Workers; Sonia Attacks Govt & Rail Ministry

State units of Congress will bear cost of rail travel of every needy worker, migrant labourer, said Congress president Sonia Gandhi in a statement on Monday


Congress president Sonia Gandhi in a statement on Monday announced that the party 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. She added that this will be the Congress’ "humble contribution in service of our compatriots" and to stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with them.

'Our workers & labourers are ambassadors of India's growth'

This comes after the Indian Railways on Friday decided to charge for tickets for operating special trains for stranded migrant workers amid Coronavirus lockdown. Sonia Gandhi also attacked the Central government by saying that if the government can bring back citizens stranded abroad free, why can't it extend the same courtesy of free rail travel to migrants.

"Our workers and labourers are the ambassadors of our nation’s growth. When our Government can recognise its responsibility by arranging free air travel for our citizens stranded abroad when the Government can spend nearly Rs.100 crores on transport and food etc. for just one public programme in Gujarat, 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?" the Congress President said.

Here is Sonia Gandhi's full statement:

The Indian Railways on Sunday issued guidelines for Shramik trains that are operating for movement of stranded migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, and students stuck due to Covid lockdown. It states that local and state government authorities will act as a link and co-ordinate between passengers and Railways in the distribution of tickets. It says that the Shramik trains are non-stop trains bound for a single destination. It has clearly mentioned that all the people will be screened in the state from where they will board the train, and only if they are asymptomatic, they will be allowed to travel. 

READ | MHA permits movement of stranded persons by train, Railways to run 'Shramik Special'

READ | Two ‘Shramik Express’ trains bring 2,300 migrant workers from Kerala & Gujarat to Odisha

Here are the points specified in the guidelines:

  • The Shramik special trains should have at least 90 per cent occupancy to operate.
  • The local state government authority shall handover tickets of such trains to passengers cleared by them and collect the ticket fare and hand over the total amount to Railways.
  • It also said that the originating state will provide adequate security at the designated station to ensure that only those passengers, who have been cleared by the state government to travel and have a valid train ticket for the journey, should enter station premises.
  • Railways shall print train tickets to the specified destination, as per the number of passengers indicated by originating state and hand them over to the local state government authority, it said.
  • The state government shall issue food packets and drinking water at the originating points, it said.
  • It will be mandatory for all passengers to wear face cover. The state authorities shall advise the passengers to use mask/ face covers.
  • The originating state will encourage all passengers to download and use the Aarogya Setu App.
  • For trains with a long journey beyond 12 hours, one meal will be provided by the railways.
  • On arrival at their destination, the passengers will be received by state government authorities, who would make all arrangements for their screening quarantine, if necessary, and further travel. The receiving state will make adequate security arrangements at the railway station. 

READ | Railways issues guidelines to operate Shramik trains, clarifies on tickets distribution

READ | Shramik special train ferrying 800 UP migrant workers from Nashik arrives in Lucknow

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