Why is India spending money showering petals on hospitals but making workers pay for train tickets? -Shoaib Daniyal
Gestures should not come at the cost of real action.
When Narendra Modi announced India’s harsh lockdown starting from March 25 to combat the spread the coronavirus, migrant workers were the worst affected group. Stranded in cities without wages or access to food, hundreds of thousands of people started walking, cycling and smuggling themselves in container trucks and cement mixers to try to get home – a journey that was sometimes thousands of kilometres long. Many have died along the way.
With the lockdown now extended until May 17, the Modi government has finally decided to let migrant workers to back home, allowing their home states to run buses as well as the Indian Railways to ply special trains. But not only are the desperate workers being charged for their these trips, they are paying higher fares than usual.
A filter to get back home
The Indian Railways, for example, will not only collect the full ticket price on its special workers trains but also levy a surcharge of Rs 50. On buses being run by the Karnataka government, the price is nearly four times as much as hiring an air conditioned taxi, the Indian Express reported.
Given that migrant workers have had no incomes for more than a month, to make them pay to get home is egregious. Adding a surcharge makes it even more unacceptable. This will ensure that many migrants will simply be unable to afford to go home.
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Scroll.in, 3 May, 2020, https://scroll.in/article/960909/why-is-india-spending-money-showering-petals-on-hospitals-but-making-workers-pay-for-train-tickets