In a series of tweets on Saturday, Congress leader P Chidambaram has said that the Grand-Old party was the first one to raise the issue about the migrants. Taking to Twitter, he has said that Congress was the first to demand that cash and grain must be given to the poorest alleging that 'governments' did not pay heed. He has also said that the Central government took 38 days to facilitate the movement of migrant workers who wanted to return to their native states. In an obvious reference to the Aurangabad Train Mishap, he has gone on to claim that 'governments are shedding crocodile tears for the migrant workers who were killed by a train'. This comes even as Congress party is in power in Maharashtra (where the mishap took place), in alliance with Uddhav Thackeray's Shiv Sena and Sharad Pawar's NCP.
Congress was the first to raise the issue of migrant workers locked down without a job or money or grain.— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) May 9, 2020
Congress was the first to demand that migrant workers who desired to go back to their home states should be facilitated to do so. Central government dragged its feet for 38 days.— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) May 9, 2020
Now, governments are shedding crocodile tears for the migrant workers who were killed by a train. The tragedy on our highways and railway tracks is visible every day to all, except the governments.— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) May 9, 2020
The Home Ministry last week announced that the Ministry of Railways will operate Shramik special trains fto facilitate the movement of stranded students, migrants, tourists due to COVID lockdown. It said that it will designate nodal officers for coordinating with states and Union Territories for the movement of stranded persons. Later, the Indian Railways also issued detailed guidelines for sale of tickets, and for social distancing and other measures to be observed at train stations, train platforms and within the trains.
The Indian Railways on Thursday said it has run over 163 Shramik Special trains since May 1 and ferried home over 1.60 lakh migrants stranded in various parts of the country due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown. Railways said that it ran 56 Shramik special trains on Wednesday and 14 so far on Thursday, taking the total tally to 163.
In the early hours of May 8, an empty rake of goods wagon ran over 16 people who were sleeping on the tracks while walking a long distance, near Karmad, Aurangabad. The workers, who were walking to Bhusawal from Jalna, were returning to Madhya Pradesh, an official at the Karmad police station told news agency PTI. They had been walking along the rail tracks and slept on the rail tracks due to exhaustion, said Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of South Central Railway. They were mowed down by the train at 5.15 am, the official added.