After opposition party Congress decided to pay for migrant workers’ train fare to return home, the Maharashtra Congress said it has borne the travel expenses of nearly 27,865 migrant workers and sent them back to their native places, state party president Balasaheb Thorat said on Tuesday.
Arrangements are being made to send 24,000 more migrant workers from Maharashtra to their native states, Thorat said. “So far, the Maharashtra Congress has paid the travel expenses of 27,865 workers,” he said in a statement, reported PTI.
Amid the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, several migrant workers, in a desperate bid to return to their native places, started walking hundreds of kilometres while some took whatever mode of transport was available to reach home.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi last week said her party’s state units will bear the cost of rail travel for all needy migrant workers and labourers stranded at their workplaces and seeking to return home.
Thorat said after the announcement, the Maharashtra Congress unit started the process of sending migrants workers back home. The workers were registered at the district level and special trains were made available to take them to their home states.
Shramik Special trains were operated from Nagpur to Muzaffarpur, Lucknow, Ballia and Darbhanga, Wardha to Patna, Pune to Lucknow and Bhopal, Miraj to Gorakhpur, Chandrapur to Patna and Ahmednagar to Unnao.
Besides, the travel cost of majority of the workers who boarded the trains from Mumbai to Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar was also borne by the Congress, he said, adding that food, masks and sanitisers were provided to the workers during their journey.
Thorat said state Energy Minister Nitin Raut paid for four special trains, whileMinister of State for Agriculture Vishwajeet Kadam and Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development Minister Sunil Kedar paid for two trains to send migrant workers back to their states.
State Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar and Women and Child Development Minister Yashomati Thakur also paid for sending many workers back home, he said.
Thorat also said that 3,567 workers were sent to their native states in private vehicles from Satara, Ahmednagar, Pune,Nagpur, Chandrapur,Kolhapur and Sangli and their travel expenses were also borne by the Congress.
The party also arranged for buses and food for stranded workers from Sangamner (Ahmednagar) to the nearest railway station, he said.
Minister of State for Home Satej Patil made arrangements for food during the journey of stranded workers from Kolhapur, he said.
Thorat said nearly 18,000 workers belonging to Uttar Pradesh have registered themselves with the district level helplines started by the Congress in Maharashtra.
Apart from this, over 24,000 workers hailing from states like Bihar, Rajasthan,Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal andKarnataka have also reached out to the party for help, the minister said, adding that arrangements will be made for them and they will be sent back home soon