Never talked about charging migrant workers; 85% fare borne by Rlys, 15% by state govt: Centre


PTI, May 5, 2020, 7:57 AM IST

New Delhi: The government has not talked about charging anything from migrant labourers as 85 per cent of the transportation cost is being borne by the railways and 15 per cent by the state government, the Centre said on Monday amid a row over the national transporter allegedly charging the workers for ferrying them home during the COVID-19-induced lockdown.

The government also said the process of transporting the stranded migrant labourers was being coordinated by states “except for one or two states”.

Asked if the migrant labourers were being charged for being ferried home, Joint Secretary at the health ministry Lav Agarwal said that as far as migrant labourers are concerned, the guidelines have clearly stated that under the infectious disease management, one should stay where he or she is.

“Based on the request given from states for particular cases, permission was given to run special trains. Be it the government of India or the Railways, we have not talked about charging from workers. Eighty-five per cent of the transportation cost is borne by the Railways, while the state has to bear 15 per cent of the cost,” he told reporters.

“Based on the request of the states the process that started, under which a limited number of stranded migrant labourers have to be transported for a particular reason, is being coordinated by the state governments, except for one or two states,” Agarwal said.

The restrictions in the country after May 3 should not be seen as “lockdown 3.0” but as “easing 2.0”, he said.

A political slugfest broke out on Monday over the issue of ‘homecoming’ of migrants with opposition Congress offering to pay for the travel of the stranded workers, and the BJP hit back, saying the railways were already bearing 85 per cent of the travel cost and only 15 per cent was being taken from the state governments.

 

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