Subramanian Swamy | File photo: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg
Subramanian Swamy | File photo: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg
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New Delhi: Rajya Sabha MP and senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy slammed the Narendra Modi government Monday for charging rail fares from migrants seeking to return home amid the nationwide lockdown.

In a tweet, Swamy called the government “moronic” and said: “Indians stranded abroad were brought back free by Air India. If Railways refuse to budge then why not make PM CARES pay instead? (sic)”

Swamy’s statement echoed Congress’ criticism of the government for charging migrant labourers returning home. Calling migrant workers the “backbone” of India’s economy and “ambassadors” of the nation’s growth, the party Monday announced that it would pay for the train fare of migrants.

In a letter released today morning, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said: “When our Government can recognise its responsibility by arranging free air travel for our citizens stranded abroad, when the government can spend nearly Rs 100 crore on transport and food etc for just one public programme in Gujarat, when the Rail Ministry has the largesse to donate Rs 151 Crore to the PM’s Corona fund, then why can’t these essential members of our nation’s fabric be given a fraction of the same courtesy, especially free rail travel…”

An hour after his first statement, however, Swamy posted another tweet saying he has spoken to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s office and that labourers will “go free”.

“(The government) will pay 85 per cent and the State government (will pay) 15 percent. Migrant labour will go free. (The Railways) Ministry will clarify with an official statement,” he tweeted after his first statement.

No official statement from the railway ministry or Piyush Goyal has been released so far.


Also read: Bihar ready with 7,500 hotel rooms to screen 25 lakh returning migrants: Health minister


‘Govt should bear costs on humanitarian grounds’

Swamy and Sonia aren’t the only ones speaking out against the government for charging train fare from migrants.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot have also called for the government to bear the costs on humanitarian grounds.

Migrant workers boarding the Shramik Special trains, which were functioning at two-third of capacity, had to reportedly pay for their tickets depending on their destinations.

Those travelling from Surat to Puri had to pay Rs 710 and Rs 250 for a journey from Ahmedabad to Agra. Passengers in Bhiwandi who were headed to Gorakhpur had to pay Rs 800, a journey that usually costs Rs 745.

Railway Chairman V.K. Yadav has been quoted by The Indian Express as saying that it was a “conscious call not to run these trains free of cost“.

“Problem is once you make services free, everyone is eligible to travel. Then who is coming to the stations; who all are travelling would become a problem to track. This service is for stranded migrant workers, students etc. only and they are allowed to travel only after thorough screening. These trains are not for the general public,” Yadav said.


Also read: Railways run first special train to ferry stranded migrants from Telangana to Jharkhand


 

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Let’s not criticize anyone or comment ,it’s the role of every elected member to do their best in implementing various schemes to help the poor in this time of crisis.

  2. The flight cost of stranded Indians abroad is to be paid by they themselves as clarified in TOI tv presentation.
    Similarly 85 percent of rly fare is to be borne by centre for migrant workers by the central govt and 15 percent by state govt. This has also been clarified.
    However some states do not want to bear this 15 percent. This is what Maharashtra govt says.
    The Kerala govt went a step ahead and collected the fare from Migrant workers travel back to their states.
    This is reported in local Janam TV.
    This was contrary to the agreement.
    This money could have been collected by local agents of CPM.
    Mrs. Sonia and Mr.Swamy should have clarified before tweeting.
    However a comment that rlys think every body else is thief , could be true. It envisages unnecessary checks during this pandemic is not welcome. No circular no notice no clarity on the whole of this , shows how rly board takes things.

  3. This man again opened his dirty mouth only to.make.things worst when PM has no way to half cooked impotent man Being BJP member been asked to play this drama scene otherwise opposition will lead gain and these fake nationalist BJP RSS mafia has no face to show.

  4. This man again opened.his dirty mouth only to.make.things in order when PM has no way to hide his mistake. This half cooked impotent man Being BJP member has been asked to play this drama scene otherwise opposition will lead gain and these dongi BJP RSS mafia has no face to show.

  5. It’s good that the lapse by the government has been pointed out by subramaniam swamy. Good job sir! Wonder how the government could do this mistake?

  6. Why should people working abroad allowed to travel free on ai and you say ai making losses. And govt is collecting railfares from poor daily wage migrant labourers. Why Swami you did not counsel govt earlier.

  7. Railways have always been anti people. It is corrupt and doesn’t use common sense. For them everyone except themselves are thieves. It is the most disorganized dept,Rotten food to arrogant behavior and not willingness to accept responsibility. During the lock down, how many FOB have been repaired? They will announce some compensation after an accident & blame a scapegoat.

  8. Who will care for a comment posted here, does it solve any issue? It will be an ego trip to post comments. If comments are to be useful devise a method of addressing issues with the opinions put into comments using advanced technology and make the results are known to public periodically.

  9. Swamy ji was just right to be miffed over rumoured apathy of the Government as to migration of stranded workers. However, going to the press without first sorting out the matter with the concerned Government department, that too when he had the power to just walk into any department like maharshi Bhrigu! This has provided a handle to Congress to do chest thumping. I am one of the millions to have immense regards for Swami ji, and feel sorry to point finger at him🙁

  10. Swamy’s bold statement and followed by quick action with Railway Minister is highly commendable. If an MP acts like this against the government run by DMK, he will lose his post and address.

  11. The reason you gave that you won’t be able to keep a note of who will be travelling and that everyone would be eligible to travel signifies your lack of empathy and common sense. What is documentation for then man? Have records of the people travelling. And talking about the general public…Do you think people would go on picnic in such situations to travel free?

  12. What a lousy way of using stupid words like moron. Mr Swamy should have shown maturity in talking to the GOI before making unsavoury comments against a very proactive govt which has done so much to control the virus. As he made any comment praising the GOI for its work, if not better he makes a statement appreciating the government in comparison to Eurooe and USA where everything had gone haywire. I have a lot of respect for Mr Swamy for his wisdom and maturity and I am disappointed by his statement.

    • Dont even compare n dream europe or usa with indian Govt Wht u look like u get understand

    • What ever GOI doing is the execution of “Raj Dharam”. Raj Dharam is selfishness duty of a Raja. This govt is the govt. no doubt pro rich. This is the nature of some people. Dr Swamy is always displayed as pro people. …. Some one pointed out some thing in your act because he love and care you just like parivar checks their acts of children. It does not mean that they don not love you. Today’s Govt. should think ancient way of thinking.

  13. Yes, the state govt and the central govt has to share the cost of the emigrants train travel. The emigrant labour cannot pay as they have no work and no money.
    I don’t understand why the media should words such “Slams” ” hits back” etc.
    The media just has to report the news that’s all. There is no need to sensationalise the news.

  14. Workers deserve free travel to their homes.Modi will agree inthe larger interests of nation builders

  15. Infact India economy stands good level, one of the main reason is majority of poor citizens, who working for below 15k a month to this nation, out of 1.3 billion total population, cost of leaving is same for all, example : soap cost 50rs (mrp) for all 1.3 billion people.

  16. Crorepati MPs enjoy free travel facilities in train but labourers who have no money to pay are refused free travel.Is it a social justice?

  17. Now what more proof do you need that in the BJP everyone can freely speak their minds without fear. Criticism is encouraged. Improvements are acknowledged & immediately implemented.
    Jai Hind.

Comments are closed.