Congress general secretary Priyanka Vadra Gandhi continued her party's attack over who will bear expenses for the migrant labourers' travel to their home states by trains, which has now begun across the country. The Railway ministry has clarified that the Centre will bear 85% of the cost, while states will bear 15%, and the migrants themselves will have to pay nothing.
Taking to Twitter despite the clarification, she said that the workers are nation builders and today they are struggling which is becoming a reason for 'self agony' for the whole nation.
Echoing her brother's attack, she added that "When the government can bring back stranded Indians free of cost by aeroplane, when 100 crores can be spent on 'Namaste Trump' from the government treasury and when the Railway Minister can give Rs 151 crore in PM Cares Fund, then why can not the workers get the facility of free rail travel in this hour of disaster?" She added that her party, the Congress, has decided that it will bear the full expenses of the rail journey of the workers returning home.
मजदूर राष्ट्र निर्माता हैं। मगर आज वे दर दर ठोकर खा रहे हैं-यह पूरे देश के लिए आत्मपीड़ा का कारण है।— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) May 4, 2020
जब हम विदेश में फँसे भारतीयों को हवाई जहाज से निशुल्क वापस लेकर आ सकते हैं, जब नमस्ते ट्रम्प कार्यक्रम में सरकारी खजाने से 100 करोड़ रु खर्च कर सकते हैं.. 1/2#CongressForIndia pic.twitter.com/KF0t5JcYYG
Priyanka's attack comes after many BJP leaders and the Railways clarified that it is not charging anything from the migrant labourers. The Railways is charging only the standard fare from the state government, which is just 15% of the total cost incurred by them, Railway ministry sources were quoted by news agency ANI as saying on Monday.
"Indian Railways is running 'Shramik' special trains keeping berths empty in each coach to maintain social distancing. The trains are returning empty from destinations under lock and key. Free food and bottled water are being given to migrants by railways," sources said. It is not selling any tickets to migrants and is only boarding passengers based on lists provided by states, the sources added.
The sources further said that railways are "fulfilling its social responsibility of providing safe and convenient travel especially to the poorest of the poor in a time of crisis."
Earlier in the day, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy said that he spoke to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal's Office regarding the Railways decision to charge for tickets for operating special trains for stranded migrant workers amid Coronavirus lockdown. Swamy said that the Migrant labourers will travel free of cost as the government will pay 85% and the state government will pay 15% of the expenses. He added that the Ministry will clarify with an official statement.
Talked Piyush Goel office. Govt will pay 85% and State Govt 15% . Migrant labour will go free. Ministry will clarify with an official statement— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) May 4, 2020
Before that, Sonia Gandhi in a statement 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.
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.
Statement Of Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi— Congress (@INCIndia) May 4, 2020
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 pic.twitter.com/kxruKa0xgI