Bihar CM Nitish Kumar says his govt pays for migrant workers’ return tickets: BJP claims its state govts pay for their tickets refuting opposition accusation of forcing the poor workers to buy tickets

RULING BJP has refuted the allegation made by AICC President Sonia Gandhi that the migrant workers are being compelled to pay train fares for returning to their home states. She asked the state congress committees to pay for the migrant labourers and slammed the government for alleged inhuman attitude to the poor and jobless people. Ex-Congress President  Rahul Gandhi and AICC General Secretary  Priyanka Gandhi Vadra soon after Sonia Gandhi’s statement seconded her on Tweeter. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackery also seconded Sonia Gandhi’s stand. Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in PMO and incharge for North-eastern states, says  Indian Railways is running Shramik special trains keeping berths empty in each coach to maintain social distancing. The trains are returning empty from destinations under lock and key. Free food and bottled water are being given to migrants by railways. The BJP said on Monday the railways has subsidised 85 per cent of ticket fare for special trains being run to transport migrant workers and the state government has to pay the remaining 15 per cent. The state government concerned can also pay for the tickets, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said. The Madhya Pradesh government is doing so and asked Rahul Gandhi to tell the Congress-ruled states to follow suit. Patra was responding to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s attack on the railways for charging poor migrant labourers ticket fare, even as it donated over Rs 151 crore to the PM-CARES Fund. “Rahul Gandhi Ji, I have attached guidelines of MHA which clearly states that ‘No tickets to be sold at any station’. Railways have subsidised 85% & state govt to pay 15%. the BJP leader said that for each ‘Shramik Express’, special trains being run for migrants, about 1,200 tickets to the destination are handed over by the railways to the state governments concerned. No migrant worker is allowed to buy any ticket. State governments are supposed to clear the ticket price and hand over the tickets to workers, he said amidst unconfirmed reports that  Kerala, Rajasthan & Maharashtra governments made the workers pay for their return homeward journeys. Earlier, the Congress had said its state units will bear the cost of rail travel of needy migrant workers and labourers stranded at their workplaces due to the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus. Sonia Gandhi in a statement announced the party’s decision and said this would be the Congress’ humble contribution in standing shoulder to shoulder with these workers. In a tweet, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy claimed that migrant workers returning home will not have to pay money as the rail travel will be free from now onwards. Swamy, in a tweet, said, “Talked to Piyush Goel office. Govt will pay 85% and State Govt 15%. Migrant labour will go free. Ministry will clarify with an official statement.”

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