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Congress, BJP trade barbs over fares of special trains for migrants

By Surendra P Gangan
PUBLISHED ON MAY 29, 2020 11:56 PM IST

The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders traded barbs at each other again on Friday over the issue of ticket fares of Shramik Special trains for migrants travelling back to their hometowns.

Maharashtra Congress general secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant said Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on Thursday in an affidavit had informed the Supreme Court that the entire cost of the tickets for the Shramik Special trains is being borne by states.

He has also alleged that the information submitted to the court exposed the Modi government, as its ministers and BJP leaders have been claiming that the Centre is bearing 85% of the ticket fare.

Sawant said,“BJP’s hypocrisy has been exposed and party state president Chandrakant Patil should immediately apologise to the people for the false claim he made.” Sawant’s statements were countered by former Mumbai BJP chief and senior leader Ashish Shelar, who termed the Congress leader was a “factory of blatant lies” and the fresh allegation was also a part of it.

“The cost to run a train ranges between 30 lakh and 50 lakh, depending on the distance it covers. The running cost per passenger and the current fare charged for each passenger travelling on the Shramik trains is in the ratio of 85:15. Even in the information submitted to the court, Tushar Mehta has clarified that the entire ticket fare [which is 15% of the cost of running a train] is being borne by the states. This mathematics cannot be discussed in the court as everybody is aware of it and even railways officials have clarified it time and again,” Shelar said.

Union ministers Prakash Javadekar and Nirmala Sitharaman, as well as Patil, had also earlier reiterated that 85% of the fares of the trains had been borne by the Centre. Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh and transport minister Anil Parab had then lashed out at the Centre and claimed that the entire cost of the ticket fare had been borne by the state.

The state government has made a budgetary allocation of 100 crore for the cost of ticket fares for migrants and claimed that it has sent more than 10.5 lakh migrants back to their home states in over 650 trains departed from various stations over past three weeks.

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