Indian Railways has cancelled all train tickets booked during or before the lockdown for travel up to June 30th in view of the Coronavirus pandemic. According to a report published by India Today, the tickets of regular trains, which are being cancelled, were booked during the lockdown period when the railways were allowing bookings for journeys in June. As soon as the news surfaced, the usual suspect rushed to fear-monger and spread panic. One of the first people to do that was veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar who often confuses reality with fiction.
Javed Akhtar took to Twitter to claim that “no trains till June 30th” would adversely affect the migrant labours.
What is the meaning of “ no trains till 30th of June” The migrant workers want to go back n they have all the right to do so But the privileged class doesn’t want to let go their cheap labour. By unfairly trying to block their way aren’t we trying to turn them into bonded labour— Javed Akhtar (@Javedakhtarjadu) May 14, 2020
Akhtar tweeted, “The migrant workers want to go back n they have all the right to do so But the privileged class doesn’t want to let go their cheap labour. By unfairly trying to block their way aren’t we trying to turn them into bonded labour”.
The clear assertion here by Javed Akhtar was that due to the trains being cancelled, migrant labours would also be stranded and would be unable to go home.
However, the truth is far from it.
Shramik trains to continue – Javed Akhtar fear-mongering needless
The Railways notification as reported by Moneycontrol.com clearly says that Shramik Trains and Special Trains that had started from May 15th would continue to operate and not be affected by this decision to cancel all tickets up until 30th June.
The order clearly states that tickets for regular passengers service including Mail/Express, Passenger and Suburban services have been cancelled till June 30th until further notice. It also says that all passengers are liable to get a full refund for their ticket.
However, it also says that Shramik Special trains are to remain unaffected by this decision.
The central government on May 1, had started ‘Shramik’ special trains which are facilitating the return of migrant labourers back to their home states from the various states where they might be stranded due to the Coronavirus lockdown.
Shramik trains – political mudslinging and tons of lies by Congress
On May 4 Congress leaders took to Twitter to claim that since the government is charging money for the railway fare of the stranded migrants going back home on Shramik Special trains, the party will chip in and bear the expenses for the same. This offer to pay for the migrants’ fare came two days after the Railway Ministry had clarified that the state and central governments are facilitating the movement of migrants through Shramik Special trains.
On May 2, 2020, the Ministry of Railways had clarified that no tickets will be sold at the railway station and that the movement of migrants is being arranged by the state governments.