Other States

Bihar, Delhi govts. spar over migrants’ train fare

Both claim they are footing the bill

The Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government on Saturday engaged in a virtual face-off with the Delhi dispensation over reimbursement of train fare of returning migrants.

The controversy erupted on Friday when Delhi Labour Minister Gopal Rai tweeted, “Train with workers departed from Delhi to Muzaffarpur, Bihar. Fare of all 1,200 on board will be paid by Arvind Kejriwal government.”

Citing the tweet, Bpihar Water Resources Minister Sanjay Jha accused the Delhi government of resorting to “cheap populist politics” over the train fare. He posted a letter from Mr. Rai asking the Bihar government to reimburse the train fare spent by the Delhi government to the tune of ₹6.5 lakh.

“On one hand you’re taking credit saying you’re sending them back with your own money and on the other hand, you’re asking the Bihar government to pay the money”, tweeted Mr. Jha.

“The problem with lies is that you forget what you have said. See, your Minister Gopal Rai is lying on Twitter that your government will pay the fare, and then sends a letter asking for money from us,” he added.

The Bihar government had earlier announced that the State government would be responsible for the cost of rail fare for migrant workers. “The Bihar government has already paid ₹76 lakh as advance to the railways for trains destined to Bihar,” said Mr. Jha. Later, BJP leader and Union Minister Giriraj Singh, too, took on the AAP government for “trying to claim credit when the Bihar government was paying the rail fare”.

’No response’

Replying to Mr. Jha’s claims, Mr. Rai tweeted, “It is true that the Delhi government wrote a letter to the Bihar government. It is also true that yesterday [Friday] the Delhi government paid the fare of 1,200 workers to the railways and sent them to Muzaffarpur. But it is also true that there was no response from the Bihar government.”

Leader of the Opposition in Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Yadav too came in support of the Kejriwal government while slamming the Nitish government over the issue. “Dear Nitish Kumar ji. Stop acting like a Pvt Ltd Co. We’re a welfare state & therefore it’s our responsibility to look after people. As per MHA’s directive, do send us the list of passengers so that we can directly pay to the spending State. Our party is committed to serve poor,” tweeted Mr. Yadav.

“If the Bihar government is actually paying the train fare of migrants, it should have been prepaid instead of reimbursing the migrants, as the Chief Minister had announced,” charged senior RJD leader Shivanand Tiwari.

Tweeting over the controversy, poll strategist and former JD(U) leader Prashant Kishor asked, “Railway is giving 85% subsidy. The Centre is not taking fare and the State government is claiming to provide fare along with several other facilities. And, now even the Opposition has announced to pay the train fare. If all are doing so much, why are the labourers so hapless and who is taking the money from them?”

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2020 8:45:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bihar-delhi-govts-spar-over-migrants-train-fare/article31547517.ece

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