Kejriwal Govt to Pay for Train Travel of Migrant Workers Stranded in Delhi

The Delhi government on Friday said it will pay for train travel of migrant workers stranded in the national capital to their native places as most of the states are yet to respond to its communication on this matter.

According to current guidelines, the Central government and the home state of the migrant workers are bearing the cost of the travel, a Delhi government statement said.

The Delhi government has already reached out to the respective states with the list of migrant workers stranded in the national capital, the statement said.

"Most of these states are yet to respond on the matter of bearing the travel costs of these stranded people. The Delhi government has taken the decision to bear the cost to avoid any further inconvenience to stranded workers," the statement added.

A special train carrying nearly 1,200 migrant labourers departed from New Delhi Railway station to Muzaffarpur in Bihar on Friday. The Delhi government ensured safe travel, social distancing, food and water for all the passengers, the statement said.

"The train carrying 1,200 migrant labourers left for Muzaffarpur, Bihar today. The Arvind Kejriwal government will bear their full travel cost," Cabinet Minister Gopal Rai wrote on Twitter.

The Delhi government arranged several buses to bring these workers from shelters across Delhi. Teams of doctors were appointed to screen them and after thorough checkup, medical certificate was issued to each one of them, the statement said.

To ensure social distancing, the Delhi government permitted only 12 people on a bus while taking the migrant workers to the railway station. Thermal screening of the passengers was also done before boarding the bus, it added.

The Delhi government also appointed civil defence volunteers at each of these buses. The volunteers distributed masks to every passenger and instructed them to ensure social distancing. The volunteers also asked them to wash their hands from time to time, it said.

Earlier this week, a political slugfest had ensued over the 'homecoming' of migrants after the Congress accused the government of charging money from stranded workers and offered to pay for their travel to native places, drawing a sharp retort from the BJP which said the railways was already bearing 85 per cent of the travel cost and charging only 15 per cent from the state governments.