“Our workers and labourers form the backbone of our economy. Their hard work and sacrifice are the foundation of our nation,” she mentioned.
Sonia Gandhi mentioned, “The Indian National Congress has, therefore, taken a decision that every Pradesh Congress Committee shall bear the cost for the rail travel of every needy worker and migrant labourer and shall take necessary steps in this regard. This will be the Indian National Congress’ humble contribution in service of our compatriots and to stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with them.”
Attacking the Centre over the disaster of the migrant labourers stranded in several elements of the nation, she mentioned, “But what is the responsibility of our Government? Even today, 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.”
“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,” Sonia Gandhi mentioned.
Questioning the federal government on the problem confronted by the migrant labourers, who had been caught away from their houses for the reason that lockdown was imposed, Sonia Gandhi requested, “When our Government can recognise its responsibility by arranging free air travel for our citizens stranded abroad, when the Government can spend nearly Rs. 100 crores on transport and food etc. for just one public programme in Gujarat, when the Rail Ministry has the largesse to donate Rs. 151 Crores 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?”
The Indian Railways had issued a set of tips for Shramik Special trains to ferry the migrants stranded throughout the nation.
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.”
In the SOP, the railways mentioned the duty for meals, safety, well being scanning, offering tickets to the stranded will be with the state from which the train is originating. It, nevertheless, took the burden of offering one meal to passengers whose journey will be of 12 hours or extra.