One thousand twenty-one migrant workers who left from Bengaluru to various parts of Uttar Pradesh were charged anywhere between Rs 800 to Rs 1,000 for their travel. This development comes a day after the Central Government claimed that governments would bear the cost of the total cost of the migrant workers’ journey.
In a statement to the media Joint Secretary at the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal had said: “Based on the request given from states for particular cases, permission was given to run special trains. Be it Government of India or the Railways, we have not talked about charging from workers. Eighty-five per cent of the transportation cost is borne by the Railways, while states have to bear 15 per cent of the cost.”
“The police department gave us the tickets in front of our houses. They took Rs 1,000 from us and dropped us in buses at the Chikkabanavara railway station. This happened around 11 am to 12noon. Once we got here, we got a train ticket as well,” Dinesh Yadav, a resident of Azamgarh, said.
“They took Rs 1,000 from me,” says Karan Kumar, another passenger from the train. “It was around 12noon. We were told that each one pays Rs 1,000 each and asked us to assemble,” he added.
“We are 26 people from one district. Today (Tuesday, 5 May) morning we were given tickets for Rs 1,000. When we got here, we got train tickets as well, for that they didn’t ask any money. We paid only that Rs 1,000”, said Ram Narayan Yadav.
This statements of the migrant workers were contrary to claims by the central government and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which said that governments would bear the ticket costs.
A senior Karnataka IAS officer told the media that they had received no such instructions. "We neither have any directions from the union government nor have any a decision to this effect has been made by the state government. In that scenario, the passengers have to pay, and they have," said N Manjunath Prasad, nodal officer for inter-state travel from Karnataka.
This development also comes days after the state government AICC president Sonia Gandhi had announced Pradesh Congress Committees in the states would bear the cost of migrant's journey home, prompting BJP to appeal to state governments to pay for the cost of travel.