Following the decision by Modi government to run Shramik Special trains to help millions of migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and others stranded by the lockdown return home, there has been a concerted campaign to discredit the efforts of the Modi government.
In a similar effort to create confusion among the public, the ‘liberal-secular’ media network – ‘The Hindu‘ reported that railway department will be charging Rs 50 extra per passenger addition to the sleeper class fare for migrants travelling in the special trains being operated between various states.
Soon, social media users including few journalists shared the report on social media platforms to claim that it was wrong to charge enhanced passenger fare from the stranded migrants and the Modi government should provide the funds through the PM-CARES fund.
Rohini Singh, who claims to be a journalist and notoriously known for spreading fake news on social media did not lose out an opportunity to target the Modi government. Falling for the fake propaganda by The Hindu, Rohini Singh insinuated that funds from PM-CARES should be used to pay for the movement of migrants.
Various other netizens also latched up to the false reportage of the The Hindu to claim that the central government should have used funds from PM-CARES instead of harassing poor migrants to pay for their one-way journey back home.
Fact Check about the Special Trains:
In a hurry to attack the Modi government, perhaps the Hindu has chosen to deliberately misreport as it forgot to mention that the passengers need not pay anything for the journey as the state governments have in fact decided to pay full fare including the extra 50 rupees per passenger.
According to a senior official, the special trains are for people who are registered by state governments and are not open to the public at large. The passengers who have been brought to the railway stations by government officials of the sending state will be allowed to board. If the state government then charges the passengers to make good on that payment, the Railways cannot be held responsible for that decision.
Most importantly, passengers will not have to buy tickets as the state governments concerned will have to coordinate and pay for the tickets. As these are not regular trains, but special trains which will run on the request of state government, there is no provision to buy tickets for those trains. The respective state governments will book the trains by making the payment as charged by the Indian Railways, and the passengers do not have to pay anything.
The railway ministry officials said the special trains will run from point to point on the ‘request of the state governments’ concerned according to home ministry protocols.
The extra charges are being collected as meals and drinking water will be provided to the passengers by the sending states at the originating station. On longer routes, the railways will provide a meal during the journey. Hence, the Railways have been collecting extra charges, which will be paid by the state government.
Railways Ministry sources told OpIndia that the Superfast charge of Rs 30 is being taken as per existing policies of Railways, because all the Shramik Special trains will run as superfast trains as they will run point to point with only a few stoppages. Moreover, no additional charge is being charged from passengers. Food and beverages are provided to the passengers as complimentary by the Railways, and only Rs 20 as additional charge is being collected. As the trains will run at 50% capacity to ensure social distancing as per MHA guidelines, the Railways is spending considerable resources for this movement of migrants.
However, the Hindu has decided to leave it out from its report to mislead public and create confusion among the masses. It is interesting to note that in its report on the special trains yesterday, The Hindu had mentioned that “passengers are not required to buy the ticket. The fares will be paid by the state governments.” But still, it went ahead and published a fake report today.