Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday attacked the government for charging train tickets from migrant labourers going back to their homes and announced that her party will bear the cost for the rail travel of all such workers stranded due to the coronavirus lockdown.
In a statement, she said it is disturbing that the central government and the rail ministry are charging them for train tickets in this hour of crisis.
“But what is the responsibility of our government? 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,” Gandhi said.
Referring to the “Namaste Trump” event in Ahmedabad on February 24, Gandhi said when the government could spend nearly Rs 100 crore on transport and food for just one public programme in Gujarat, arrange free air travel for Indians stranded abroad and when the rail ministry has the largesse to donate Rs 151 crore to the PM’s Corona fund why can’t free rail travel be provided to migrant workers at this hour of acute distress.
“Our workers and labourers form the backbone of our economy and the ambassadors of our nation’s growth. Their hard work and sacrifice are the foundation of our nation,” she added.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi too attacked the central government for charging train tickets from migrants. “On one hand, railways is charging fare from migrant labourers stuck in other sates, and on the other hand, the railways ministry is donating Rs 151 crore in PM-CARES fund. Please solve this riddle,” Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter in Hindi.
एक तरफ रेलवे दूसरे राज्यों में फँसे मजदूरों से टिकट का भाड़ा वसूल रही है वहीं दूसरी तरफ रेल मंत्रालय पीएम केयर फंड में 151 करोड़ रुपए का चंदा दे रहा है।
जरा ये गुत्थी सुलझाइए!pic.twitter.com/qaN0k5NwpG
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi)May 4, 2020
Sonia Gandhi, meanwhile, said in her letter that the central government barely gave a four-hour notice of the lockdown, thus denying workers and migrant labourers the opportunity to return to their homes.
“Post the partition of 1947, this is the first time India witnessed