Congress seeks Piyush Goyal resignation over Shramik specials
The Congress on Wednesday demanded resignation or removal of railway minister Piyush Goyal and said the Centre has been “less than fair” with the details about the special trains for migrant workers and has created confusion.
Senior spokesperson for the party, Abhishek Singhvi, said the Centre has repeatedly maintained that 85% of the cost of rail tickets for migrants is paid by the Indian railway. Solicitor General repeatedly said in the Supreme Court that all of the cost of the railways and travel for the migrants is to be borne by states sending and receiving them.
Singhvi claimed that in most cases “Rs 30 and Rs 20 charge for food and water was in fact levied”. “Now, far from giving things free, which has the impression given to everybody, these are charges charged by the railways,” he said. Singhvi underlined the apex court had to give a direction that passengers must be provided with food and water.
He said there is still a lot of confusion and “people don’t know, which train is going where, whether their name is on the list, whether they will get space”. Singhvi quoted media reports and said about 40% of trains ran late and the average delay was eight hours. “There were 78 trains which were delayed by more than one day and of course 43 trains which were delayed by more than 30-35 hours...”
However, Goyal in an interview to HT on June 1 said the allegations on widespread delays and diversions were “completely baseless and wrong”. “Almost all trains up to May 19 were before time... only 71 out of 4,040, which is 1.75% trains, were diverted.” he said.
In a statement, Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman Syed Shahnawaz Hussain separately said none of the deaths on the special trains was caused by hunger or starvation as per the post-mortem reports. “Natural deaths have occurred on the trains in the past too but the manner in which unfortunate deaths of Shramiks [workers] have been politicized is unprecedented without waiting to know about the exact cause of deaths.”