Speaking to ET, BJP leaders alleged that Gandhi’s suggestion was aimed at scuttling the fight against Covid-19 and fraught with practical difficulties. “Allowing migrants to travel free in train would lead to chaos and defeat the purpose of the lockdown. People will rush to railway stations to board trains and even climb on rooftops of trains,” a senior BJP office-bearer said.
Railways subsidise 53% tier III ticket costs and the passenger pays only 47%. This has been reduced further for migrants, BJP leaders said. “Congress-ruled state governments can pay 15% for migrants workers (85% taken care of by the railways) rather than politicising the otherwise smooth process taken up by railways,” tweeted spokesperson Sambit Patra. The PIB, meanwhile, said that special trains were on specific requests of different state governments and tickets have been issued for only special trains.
“For each Shramik Express, about 1,200 tickets to the destination are handed by the railways to the state government. State governments are supposed to clear the ticket price and hand over tickets to workers,” Patra said. Some migrant workers had shared their ticket on social media, saying they had paid for the tickets.
A BJP MP said the railways were incurring expenses due to social distancing in trains. However, the argument overlooked the fact that the migrants would pay the same price for the ticket, irrespective of the number of passengers, if the state government does not bear the cost.
“Free train travel will cost only Rs 20-30 crore and it can be borne by the railways but that is not the point. We do not want to mess up the lockdown exercise,” a BJP office bearer said.
MP and Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in Bihar have declared that they will bear the cost of the ticket for migrants travelling back home.
Download The Economic Times News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.
7 Comments on this Story
Jagdip Vaishnav267 days ago
Congress party is requested to bear 15% of railway fare for those States which are reluctant to bear this cost
Clement Buck267 days ago
These people can politicise anything under the sky. When they had their intentions to serve the poor than they should have spelt it out one month back. The railway site clearly states in the pint no 11 that the passengers to be charged. Now gadkari wants to do something in msme. Are bhai implement what you want to do. Or r u waiting to topple the Delhi govt first?
Raman 267 days ago
BJP will never stop playing politics. First they totally mismanaged this lockdown. Now millions who are stuck are left with no option but to go back. Unless center completely lifts the lock down and allows all work to continue, many of the migrants will have no other option but to return to their native. Instead of giving real solutions all these chaps from BJP from Modi down keep playing politics.