On 30 May, Congress leader and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot launched an attack on Railway Minister Piyush Goyal alleging mismanagement in running of Shramik Special Trains. He tweeted that 40 such trains have been delayed, and one of them took as many as nine days to reach its destination. He also claimed that 80 deaths have been reported in the special trains run for migrants so far. He remarked that the Prime Minister should make Goyal a minister without portfolio, as he has never heard such mess in Indian Railways ever before.
The claims made by Gehlot are not new, for last few days some journalists opposition politicians are spreading a rumour a train from Surat in Gujarat to Siwan in Bihar took 9 days to reach the destination, against the scheduled time of two days. Some media houses had reported the train had started on 17th May, but reached Siwan on 25th May, after which it went viral on social media. But there not a single eyewitness that had confirmed this, no passenger of that train had said that their train took nine days to travel.
The Rajasthan Chief Minister made a claim which has already been debunked by the Railways. On 26th May itself, the Railways have clarified that the claim is not true, and 2 trains from Surat reached Siwan on 25th in two days, instead of 9 days as reported in some media reports.
Moreover, on 28 May, the Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav again denied the claims about Shramik Special Trains, some of which were repeated by Gehlot today. Addressing a press conference, he said that the concerned train had reached Siwan in two days, and he has all the details of the trains. He also dismissed the claim that the train was ‘lost’, saying trains do not get lost.
Responding to claims of delayed Shramik Special Trains, Yadav had confirmed that the number of trains which were delayed is miniscule compared to the total number of trains run. He said that 3840 trains were run by Railways between 20 and 24 May, and only 71 of them were delayed, which means only 1.8% trains were delayed.
The chairman said that these 71 trains were delayed because their routes hade to be diverted. He informed that a large number of trains were going to UP, and hence some trains were sent by alternate routes through neighbouring states. He asserted that no train was delayed by 9 days, and only four trains needed more than four days, for reasons like landslide. He said that all other trains travelled on the average mail-express train speeds, and only 10% trains were delayed by 2 to 5 hours.
He said that reports of trains getting lost, or trains taking 9 days to reach destination are fake news, and requested the media to not spread such false information.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal also tweeted that no Shramik Train has taken 9 days to reach, and no train lost their way.