Railways earned Rs 430 crore from Shramik Special train fares
The national carrier received the highest revenue of Rs 102 crore from Gujarat followed by Maharashtra ( Rs 85 crore) and Tamil Nadu (Rs 34 crore ), according to the data reviewed by Hindustan Times.Updated: Jul 24, 2020 22:08 IST
The Indian Railways earned Rs 429.90 crore revenue through the fares of its Shramik Special trains till July 9, data shared by the railway ministry shows.
The national carrier received the highest revenue of Rs 102 crore from Gujarat followed by Maharashtra ( Rs 85 crore) and Tamil Nadu (Rs 34 crore ), according to the data reviewed by Hindustan Times.
However, railways spent much more than it earned through fares - around Rs 2,400 crore - in operating the Shramik trains, a senior ministry official said.
“This should be taken as receipt only in lieu of expenses incurred by the Railways in running of Shramik Trains. Roughly that would amount to more than Rs 2,400 crore. The fares were not taken by railways from passengers but released from state governments,” the official added.
In June, the ministry had said the average cost of fares for migrants aboard Shramik Special trains was Rs 600 and added that it spent around Rs 3,400 per person to operate the train.
“It may be noted that railways incurred 85% of the cost of operating Shramik Trains. It was an important operation to rise up for the need of the nation during the lockdown,” a spokesperson for the railway ministry said.
According to Rajendran Narayanan, assistant professor at Azim Premji University, “The actual number of migrants that have been transported during the lockdown is around 1 crore and there are still many more migrants estimated to be stranded. Due to the obstacles in the procedures in getting on board the trains and the fact that curbs are easing, many are choosing to stay put now. In terms of fares, many migrants ended up paying fares in the month of May though it did get free later on towards June in most places. Migrants ended up paying about Rs 800 to Rs 1000. When the regular IRCTC trains also began in June, many migrants decided to book them due to lack of availability in shramik trains and ended up paying dynamic fares in the IRCTC trains.”
Shramik Special trains began from May 1 in the Centre’s bid to ferry stranded migrant workers to their native states amid the Covid-19 lockdown.
But soon the national carrier had come under criticism over the issue of train fare being charged from the migrants. The ministry had also issued guidelines stating that the sending state will pay the consolidated fare to railways. “Sending state may decide to bear this cost or take it from passengers or take it from the receiving state after mutual consultation or may charge it to any fund. It is purely their prerogative,” it had said in its guidelines for operating the trains.
The Ministry of railways had clarified it subsidised the ticket prices for migrant workers by agreeing to pay 85 %, while state governments had been asked to pay the remaining 15%.
The fare structure for the trains included the price of regular sleeper class tickets plus superfast charges of Rs 30 and an additional charge of Rs 20.
The Shramik train operations have finally come to an end with the last service on July 9. However, the ministry has said that it will run more trains if there is demand. Railway board chairman VK Yadav said on Thursday that the railways would continue to run the trains if the demand arose from the states.
On July 9, the last two trains departed from the Chennai Central station - one to Jodhpur with 1,449 passengers and second one to Howrah with 1,620 passengers, according to the data.
Till date, railways have ferried 63.14 lakh migrants to their home states aboard 4,496 Shramik trains.
Gujarat and Mahrashtra accounted for the highest number of Shramik trains originating from the states with 1027 and 844 trains, respectively. The maximum number of trains ferrying migrants were sent to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar with 1712 and 1507 trains, respectively.