National

Congress to sponsor rail fare of migrant workers

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 04, 2020 Published on May 04, 2020

Congress President Sonia Gandhi   -  PTI

Condemning the Centre for not funding the costs involved in the return of migrant workers to their houses, the Opposition Congress has decided to bear the expenses. Party president Sonia Gandhi said in a statement that every Pradesh Congress Committee shall bear the cost for the rail travel of every needy worker and migrant labourer. She said such a move would be a humble contribution of the Congress in service of migrant workers.

She said workers and labourers form the backbone of our economy. "Their hard work and sacrifice are the foundation of our nation," she said.

She said as the Centre barely gave a four-hour notice of the lockdown, workers and migrant labourers were denied the opportunity to return to their homes. "Post the partition of 1947, this is the first time India witnessed a tragedy with such a massive human cost as thousands of migrant workers and labourers were forced to walk home several hundred kilometres on foot- without food, without medicines, without money, without transportation, without anything except for the desire to return to their families and loved ones. The very thought of their plight is enough to break our hearts as there was also the outpouring of support from fellow Indians for their inspiring resolve," she added.

 

Questioning the Centre, she said lakhs of workers and migrant labourers are languishing in different parts of the country and wish to return to their homes and families, but there is neither adequate money nor provision for free transport. "What is particularly disturbing is that the Central Government and the Rail Ministry are charging them for train tickets in this hour of crisis," she said.

She said workers and labourers are the ambassadors of our nation’s growth. "When our Government can recognise its responsibility by arranging free air travel for our citizens stranded abroad, when the Government can spend nearly ₹100 crore on transport and food etc. for just one public programme in Gujarat, when the Rail Ministry has the largesse to donate ₹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, at this hour of acute distress?" she asked.

She said there need to be provisions for the safe and free rail travel of migrant workers and labourers to their home-towns. "However, despite our repeated demands, the Central Government and the Rail Ministry have chosen to completely ignore the same," she added.

Published on May 04, 2020
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