Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has sought clarity from the Railways over whether it is bearing 85 per cent of the transport cost of migrant workers heading home amid the lockdown, state Home Minister said on Wednesday.
These workers do not have jobs and the Railways should not charge train fare from them, Deshmukh said in a video message.
The BJP on Monday said the Railways has subsidised 85 per cent of ticket fare for special trains being run to transport migrant workers and the state governments have to pay the remaining 15 per cent.
"On behalf of the Maharashtra government, I am seeking clarity from the Indian Railways whether it is really bearing 85 per cent cost of the train ticket. No official order has been received from the railways so far," Deshmukh said.
Everybody knows that these migrant labourers have no jobs since last 40 days and they are desperate to return home, he pointed out.
"The railways should do away with charging the ticket cost from the migrant labourers, he said.
So far, nearly 36,000 migrant labourers have left from Maharashtra for their native places, an official earlier said.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday said her party's state units will bear the cost of rail travel of needy migrant labourers stranded at their workplaces due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown and seeking to return home.
She also accused the central government and the Railways of completely ignoring the demands made by the Congress for ensuring the safe and free travel of migrant workers and labourers to their homes.
Rebutting the Congress' criticism, the BJP said on Monday that the Railways has subsidised 85 per cent of ticket fare for special trains being run for migrant workers and the state governments have to pay the remaining 15 per cent.