Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Monday said that no fare will be charged from students returning to the state by special trains while migrant workers will be fully reimbursed the expenses incurred after they complete the mandatory 21-day quarantine.
“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,” Kumar said in a video message.
Kumar also said the students returning to the state from places like Kota and elsewhere will not have to give any money as it is already being paid by the state government directly to the Railways.
He also alleged that these measures were already in place but confusion was created after “political statements” were made by the opposition.
Kumar’s statement comes hours after Congress president Sonia Gandhi said that the party’s State Congress Committees will bear the ticket expense of the train journey of migrant workers who are being sent back to their homes by various states. In a letter to party workers, the interim party chief said that the party will also take necessary steps in this regard.
“Indian National Congress has taken a decision that every Pradesh Congress Committee shall bear the cost for the rail travel of every needy worker & migrant labourer and shall take necessary steps in this regard,” Sonia Gandhi had said in her letter. “This will be the Indian National Congress’ humble contribution in service of our compatriots and to stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with them.”
Earlier, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot had demanded that Centre and the Railways must bear the expenditure on humanitarian grounds since the workers were already facing economic hardships. However, the Railways had said that it was a conscious call not to run these trains free of cost so that only those who intend to travel were transported.
As many as 21 Shramik Special trains have run so far to bring migrants back home from different states by the Railways.
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