No demand for Shramik trains pending, spent Rs 329.25 cr to send migrant workers home: Maha to HC

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai | Published: June 5, 2020 7:06:06 pm

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Migrants going back to their home town from the Shramik Special train brought to the railway station through buses (File/Express photo by Gurmeet Singh)

Maintaining that it had arranged 822 Shramik Special trains to ferry 11.87 lakh migrant workers to their home states until June 1, the Maharashtra government on Friday told the Bombay High Court there is no demand for arranging more such trains, as the migrants could also avail other train services that had resumed from June 1.

The government, in an affidavit filed through Kishor Raje Nimbalkar, Secretary (Disaster Management), also stated that it had spent nearly Rs 210.56 crore on facilities – including food packets, drinking water, shelter and medical care – Rs. 97.69 crore on train fare from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund and Rs 21 crore on bus fare for migrants.

It added that till May 31, nearly 5,30,571 passengers had been ferried by state transport buses either to the borders or to relief camps free of cost.

It further said that as the lockdown was being lifted in a phased manner and industries were starting, no requests for Shramik Special trains were pending and that only one train is scheduled to depart for Manipur.

“After June 1, there were no requests for Shramik Special trains, as industries were getting operational and other train services were resumed, which migrants could avail to return homes. However, we will address any such request (for a special train),” the reply stated.

On May 29, the HC had directed the state to file a reply on how it was addressing the issue of migrant workers assembling at railway stations and bus stands, which could be counter productive to the objective of the lockdown.

Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice A A Sayed were hearing a plea by CITU, filed through senior counsel Gayatri Singh and advocates Kranti L C and Ronita Bhattacharya Bector, seeking relief for migrants availing Shramik trains and buses to reach their states. The court posted further hearing on Tuesday.

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