Mumbai, May 4
The Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has urged the railway ministry to waive the ticket charges of migrant workers stranded due to lock down and now returning to their native places by special trains.
Thackeray who addressed the Divisional Commissioners, District Collectors, Secretaries of different departments and police officers through video conferencing on Sunday, said that he has urged the railway ministry not to charge train fare to the workers, who are returning after long spell of lock down facing difficulties. Most of them are surviving “hand to mouth” and may not have enough money to buy tickets.
Some of the voluntary organisations have come forward to bear their travel expenses. In such circumstances it is imperative that the railway allowed them free travel. In the last two days special trains were organised from Bhiwandi and Nashik and the movement of migrant workers is being monitored by the control room at Mantralaya in South Mumbai. In the coming days the special trains would be organised also from Mumbai, Thane and Pune. As such concerned collectors should prepare a list of the workers wanting to return to their native place. All precautions should be taken including medical examination of each and every worker, Thackeray said.
There are over 5 lakh migrant workers from different states including West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Punjab, Karnatak and Chhatisgarh residing in Maharashtra. They are being given free meals for the last 40 days by the Maharashtra Government. This facility will continue till normalcy restores, Thackeray said and added that besides migrant workers, the groups of travellers are also stranded within Maharashtra. The respective collectors should ensure that their return is hassle free.
Raju Vernekar is a Media Professional based in Mumbai and is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He had served as Chief Reporter at Free Press Journal (1996 – 2015 ). His Activities includes writing for different news papers, script writing/production for TV channels, Films Division. Writing poems in Marathi, Hindi, English, Guiding mass media students and helping people to solve their problems. Raju may be contacted at [email protected]