Senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy on Monday said that he has spoken to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s office on the issue of charging migrant workers for railway tickets in special trains operated by the Indian Railways.
“Talked Piyush Goel office. Govt will pay 85% and the State Govt 15% . Migrant labour will go free. Ministry will clarify with an official statement,” Swamy Tweeted.
Shortly before that, Swamy termed the government’s decision to charge steep rail fares from migrant labourers as ‘moronic’ and asked “If Railways refuse to budge then why not make PM CARES pay instead?”
The issue of charging migrant labourers came to the limelight after Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s statement earlier today slamming the Centre for its apathy towards poor migrant labourers.
The Congress leader said respective state units of the party will bear the cost of rail tickets.
On Friday, Home ministry announced that Indian Railways will operate ‘Shramik Special’ trains to ferry migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists and students stranded in various parts of the country to their hometowns.
However, a provision in the SOP for special trains issued by the Indian Railways drew flak from various quarters. The provision said, “The local state government authority shall hand over the tickets to the passengers cleared by them and collect the ticket fare and hand over the total amount to Railways.”
The railways’ SOP also said the responsibility for food, security, health scanning, providing tickets to the stranded will be with the state from which the train is originating.
However BJP National spokesperson Sambit Patra hit out at the Congress saying the Central government has subsidised 85% of the ticket cost and State governments have to pay the remaining 15%.