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Railway SOP for Shramik Special Trains Asking States to Collect Fare for Services Draws Flak

New Delhi: The Indian Railways has issued a set of pointers for Shramik Special trains being run to ferry the migrants stranded throughout the nation, saying the trains will ply provided that they’ve 90 per cent occupancy and the “states should collect the ticket fare”, inviting fierce criticism for charging for his or her providers.

A provision within the SOP, which drew a great deal of flak, mentioned the “local state government shall handover the tickets for these passengers cleared by them and collect the ticket fare and hand over the total amount to Railways.”

“If you are stuck abroad during this COVID crisis this government will fly you back for free but if you are a migrant worker stranded in another state be prepared to cough up the cost of travel (with social distancing cost added). Where did ‘PM Cares’ go? Like I said earlier you were better off getting stranded overseas & flown back home!,” tweeted NC chief Omar Abdullah.

In the SOP, the railways mentioned the duty for meals, safety, well being scanning, offering tickets to the stranded can be with the state from which the prepare is originating. It has nonetheless taken the burden of offering one meal to passengers whose journey can be of 12 hours or extra.

While railways has refused to touch upon the difficulty of funds, stating it’s a state matter, sources mentioned Jharkhand, which has obtained two trains until now, has paid its dues. Originating states like Rajasthan and Telangana are additionally paying for the journey of staff of their states.

Gujarat, the sources mentioned, has roped in an NGO to pay for a part of the providers. However, they mentioned, Maharashtra is making the migrants pay some quantity of the fare. In reality, Maharashtra Minister Nitin Raut wrote to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, requesting him to bear the price of ticket.

Railways is charging the fare of sleeper class tickets, plus a super-fast cost of Rs30 and a further cost of Rs20 for the Shramik Specials.

Hitting out on the Union authorities for burdening the states, CPI(M) common secretary Sitaram Yechury mentioned the state of affairs with migrant staff was a results of the Centre’s abrupt announcement of a lockdown.

“It could be very unfair that the whole duty has been shifted to state governments. This drawback was not brought on by states. In Parliament, the federal government mentioned it bore the whole price of repatriating Indians caught overseas. In the identical method the migrants ought to have been despatched again.

“Anyway, thousands of crores have been directed to PM-CARES,” Yechury instructed PTI. Railways rolled out the particular trains on Friday. Normally, it mentioned within the pointers, the trains can be run for distances greater than 500 km and won’t cease at any station earlier than the vacation spot. Each prepare with full-length composition with social distancing (not counting the center berths) can carry about 1,200 passengers.

“The originating state shall plan the group of travellers accordingly. The occupancy of prepare shouldn’t be lower than 90 per cent. Railways shall print prepare tickets to the desired vacation spot, as per variety of passengers indicated by originating state and hand them over to the native state authorities authority.

“The local state government authority shall handover tickets to passengers cleared by them and collect the ticket fare and hand over the total amount to Railways,” the rules added.

The state authorities shall situation meals packets and consuming water on the originating factors, it mentioned. It can be obligatory for all passengers to put on face covers. “The originating state will encourage all passengers to download and use Aarogya Setu App,” it mentioned.

At the vacation spot, passengers can be obtained by state authorities authorities, who would prepare for his or her screening, quarantine, if essential, and additional journey.

“Railways reserves the right to discontinue Shramik Special train operations if safety, security and hygiene protocols are flouted at any stage,” the rules issued to all zonal common managers mentioned.

Railways has denied charging the migrants and mentioned they’re dealing solely with state governments. And officers mentioned it was not doable to waive these fees because the nationwide transporter was incurring working fees in addition to price of meals. Our trains are coming again empty. The fees we’ve got levied are nominal, an official mentioned.

However, criticising the choice to cost for the travels, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav mentioned exploiting the poor throughout a catastrophe is the “job of money lenders, not the government”.

“The news of the BJP government taking money from the poor, helpless labourers going back home by train is very shameful. It has become clear that the BJP, which pardons billions to capitalists, is with the rich and against the poor. Exploiting during a disaster is the job of money lenders, not the government,” he tweeted in Hindi.

Karnataka Congress president D Okay Shivakumar mentioned his social gathering was prepared to offer help to the state authorities for cost of the prepare fare. “Giving Rs1 crore cheque to KSRTC from the KPCC for ensuring Free Transport to our working-class & labour people who are suffering to reach home because of the rates being charged by the Karnataka Govt. Govt should let us know if they need more, the KPCC will fulfil that as well,” he tweeted.

Railways ran 5 trains on Friday, the primary day of operations of the Shramik Specials, adopted by 10 on Saturday. For Sunday, it has deliberate 25 trains, however ran round 10 together with two every to Bihar and Jharkhand, one every to Bhubaneshwar and Lucknow. On Monday, it’ll run its first prepare to West Bengal.

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