The All India Railwaymen’s Federation on Thursday appealed to Congress president Sonia Gandhi to refrain from indulging in “petty politics” over the fare of Shramik Special trains and said the Railways charged money to prevent overcrowding at stations.
In a letter to Sonia Gandhi, the Railways’ largest union of workers said travelling during the coronavirus pandemic is dangerous but railway staffers are making it possible through their hard work.
“I request not to destabilise a good system which is enabling migrants to return home in 115 special trains because of petty momentary political gains,” AIRF general secretary Shiv Gopal Mishra said in the letter to the Congress president.
Overcrowding at railway stations could lead to the spread of coronavirus, he said.
The Railways started running Shramik Special trains from May 1 to ferry home migrant labourers stranded away from their homes in different parts of the country.
Opposition parties have accused the government of charging money from the labourers for the train journey.
However, the government has said 85 per cent of the fare is being borne by the Railways and the remaining 15 per cent is borne by the state government on whose request a train is being run.
As of Wednesday, the Railways said it has ferried home over 1.35 lakh migrant workers in more than 140 Shramik Special trains.