Maharashtra Energy Minister Nitin Raut on Sunday slammed the Centre for charging migrants for the train journey to their native places during the nationwide lockdown. Mentioning that the migrants had been charged Rs.505 to travel in the Special Shramik train from Nagpur to Lucknow, he termed this as an "unfair" proposition. Raut stated that he had personally paid Rs.5,00,000 for their train tickets. According to him, it was necessary for the Centre to pay for the tickets of the migrants from the PM CARES fund. Currently, there are 40,263 confirmed novel coronavirus cases out of which 10,887 persons have recovered while 1,306 deaths have been reported.
The migrant workers have been charged Rs 505 for the journey which is very unfair. Central govt should have paid for their tickets from PM CARES Fund. I have personally paid Rs 5 lakh for their tickets: Maharashtra Minister Nitin Raut in Nagpur https://t.co/sTZH8uHsbv pic.twitter.com/nnkh6fITAQ— ANI (@ANI) May 3, 2020
The Ministry of Railways decided to run Shramik Special trains to transport migrants across the country after the MHA allowed the inter-state movement of stranded persons. On Saturday, it issued detailed guidelines in this regard. Each Shramik Special train will run non-stop and will halt at a single destination more than 500 km away from the originating station. Moreover, the occupancy of the trains must not be less than 90%.
Guidelines to operate ‘Shramik Trains’-Railways to print train tickets to specified destination as per no. of passengers indicated by originating state.Local state govt authority to handover tickets to passengers&collect ticket fare&handover total amount to Railways: Railways Min pic.twitter.com/JAAsZW9YEr— ANI (@ANI) May 3, 2020
The Railways will directly hand over the tickets to the state government which in turn shall pass them on to the approved passengers after collecting the designated fare from them. This clause has drawn criticism from opposition leaders. For instance, former J&K CM Omar Abdullah contended that the Centre has shown double standards by charging the migrant workers while rescuing Indians from abroad for free. Meanwhile, Congress leader DK Shivakumar expressed his party's willingness to provide aid to the Karnataka government for payment of train fare for the migrants.