Guwahati: Hitting at the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre for charging train fare from stranded migrants going back home, Indian National Congress (INC) president Sonia Gandhi announced that every Pradesh Congress Committee will bear the cost for the rail travel of the needy migrant workers and labourers.
At present, labourers are being charged sleeper class fares and an additional Rs 50 for a pre-decided source to destination journey.
Gandhi said that post-partition of 1947, this is the first time India witnesses a tragedy with such massive human cost as thousands of migrants workers and labourers were forced to walk home, several hundred kilometres on foot — without food, medicine, money or transport, except for the desire to return to their families.
“Even today, lakhs of workers and migrant labourers are languishing in different parts of the country and wish to return to their homes and families but there is neither adequate money nor provision for free transport. What is particularly disturbing is that the Central Government and the Rail Ministry are charging them for train tickets in this hour of crisis,” she said.
Gandhi also slammed the free air travel which the government arranged for those stranded abroad, and the railway ministry’s donation of Rs 150 crore to PM’s Corona Fund. She questioned, “…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?”
Soon after the Congress president’s statement, AICC treasurer Ahmed Patel asked all the state units to mobilise all possible local resources to help migrants purchase tickets to get back home.