Patna/Mumbai: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday made it clear that no fare will be charged from students returning to the state by special trains while migrant workers will be reimbursed the expenses incurred, besides getting additional assistance, after they complete the mandatory 21-day quarantine.
In a video message, Kumar said these measures were already in place but blamed bayaanbaazi (political statements by the opposition) for the confusion which he felt was imperative to dispel.
No fare is being charged from the students. The migrant labourers are being taken from railway stations to their respective block headquarters where they have to stay in quarantine for 21 days. Once they come out, they will be reimbursed the full expenses and get an additional aid of Rs 500 each. Thus, each worker will be getting a minimum of Rs 1000, he added.
Kumar said the students returning to the state from places like Kota and elsewhere will not have to cough up money by way of fare. It is being paid by the state government directly to the Railways, the chief minister said.
While the Maharashtra Congress on Monday said it would bear the fare for people being transported to their native states on ‘Shramik Special’ trains amid the lockdown for the coronavirus outbreak, and accused the Narendra Modi government of leaving such stranded migrants and poor to fend for themselves.
These trains are being run from point to point on the request of states to clear stranded labourers etc amid strict social distancing norms.
Maharashtra Congress unit chief Balasaheb Thorat tweeted, “The Modi govt left the stranded workers to fend for themselves. Many have been walking for hundreds of kilometres to reach home. Now, as per the announcement made by @INCIndia president Soniaji Gandhi, the ticket cost of these migrants will be borne by the @INCMaharashtra”.
Earlier in the day, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had announced that her party would bear the cost of rail travel of needy migrant workers stranded at their workplaces due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown and seeking to return home.
With the Centre facing a backlash for not making such travel free, the ruling BJP said the railways had subsidised 85 per cent of ticket fare for Shramik Special trains and that the state government has to pay the remaining 15 per cent.
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had, on Sunday, urged the Centre to transport these people for free as they had no source of income for several weeks now due to the lockdown.
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