Congress will pay for migrant workers' travel, announces Sonia Gandhi
Attacking the government over its decision to charge money from migrant workers for their journey home, interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday announced that the grand old party will bear the cost. She said this was Congress' humble contribution and added that the party stands in solidarity towards them. District Congress units were asked to get to work. Here are more details.
Hit hardest by the coronavirus-linked lockdown, jobless and hungry migrant workers started walking home. Weeks later, the government announced Shramik special trains to "help them" but they were asked to pay for tickets. "The local government authorities shall handover the tickets to the passengers cleared by them and collect the ticket fare and handover the total amount to the railways," a circular read.
Attacking Centre over this tone-deaf move, Sonia reminded that only a four-hour notice was given when the first lockdown was announced. She said India was witnessing such a tragedy for the first time since the partition of 1947 "as thousands of migrant workers and laborers were forced to walk home several hundred kilometers on foot - without food, without medicines, without money, without transportation".
Calling migrant workers the ambassadors of the nation's growth, Sonia asked, "When the Government can spend nearly Rs. 100 crores on transport and food etc. for just one public program in Gujarat, when Rail Ministry has largesse to donate Rs. 151 Crores to PM's Corona fund, then why can't these essential members of our nation's fabric be given a fraction of the same courtesy."
In the statement, Sonia pointed out there are still lakhs of migrant workers who are languishing and reminded that Congress has always highlighted their plight. "The Indian National Congress has, therefore, taken a decision that every Pradesh Congress Committee shall bear the cost for the rail travel of every needy worker and migrant laborer and shall take necessary steps in this regard," she added.
BIG BREAKING: With the govt charging migrant labourers for ferrying them back home, Sonia Gandhi announces that the Congress party will bear the cost of transport of such labourers. pic.twitter.com/2WXoTG2d7x— Prashant Kumar (@scribe_prashant) May 4, 2020
Soon after Sonia's statement was released, BJP's Subramanian Swamy put out a tweet saying that the government will issue a clarification on this matter. He claimed the cost of travel will be divided between Cente and states. "Talked Piyush Goel office. Govt will pay 85% and State Govt 15%. Migrant labor will go free. Ministry will clarify with an official statement, (sic)" he wrote.
How moronic of the Government of India to charge steep rail fares from the half starved migrant labourers! Indians stranded abroad were brought back free by Air India. If Railways refuse to budge then why not make PM CARES pay instead?— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) May 4, 2020