KOCHI: Amid deep financial distress due to the lack of work following the Covid-19 lockdown, the migrant workers from Ernakulam alone have shelled out Rs 32 lakh for their journey to Odisha and Bihar after the Railways started operating special trains to ferry the stranded ‘guest workers’ from May 1.
A total of 5,592 migrant workers left from Ernakulam in the past three days. The workers have spent, on average, Rs 530 per ticket, it is learnt.
Ernakulam district administration officials said it has only charged an amount equal to the unreserved ticket fares from migrant labourers.
The total money collected was handed over to the Railways.
The decision to charge the migrant workers leaving for their home states via the special trains followed the recent Railway Board note which said: “The local state government authority shall hand over the tickets to the passengers cleared by them and collect the ticket fare and hand over the amount to the Railways.”
Fort Kochi Sub-Collector Snehil Kumar Singh, who is coordinating the migrants’ transportation in Ernakulam, told TNIE: “We have charged the standard unreserved ticket rate based on the distance between the two stations. The state government is not charging any money for transporting them to the stations in the buses. Besides, we are giving them medicines, food items and drinking water for free.”