The Congress on Saturday claimed that the Madhya Pradesh government’s negligence and inaction led to the death of 16 migrant workers in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad on Friday, reported PTI. The party said that the workers had applied to the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led government for passes to return home over two weeks ago, but the administration did not act on it.

On Friday, 16 migrant labourers were killed after a cargo train ran over them in Aurangabad district. The workers were walking back home to Madhya Pradesh when the incident occurred. Four other migrant workers survived the accident.

Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh tweeted a video that shows one of the workers, Dhirendra Singh, claiming that they had applied for their return to districts in Madhya Pradesh. Singh also called for an investigation to know the arrangements that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government made to bring them back.

“If this [the workers’ application] had happened, what arrangements did the MP government make?” the Congress leader asked. “Listen from the surviving workers. Now, the statement of the labourer Dhirendra Singh who survived proves that the workers lost their lives due to the negligence and inaction of the Madhya Pradesh government.”


The Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee tweeted that the workers killed in the train accident had asked for passes from the state government over 15 days ago. “These 16 lives could have been saved, if passes were issued,” it added. “Shivraj ji, these deaths are the result of jungle raj.”

However, Madhya Pradesh BJP Vice President Rameshwar Sharma told PTI that this was happening owing to the top Congress leaders who had announced to pay for the train tickets of migrants. “The people are leaving their homes to reach the railway stations after this announcement,” he claimed.

Earlier this month Congress President Sonia Gandhi had criticised the Centre’s decision to charge migrant workers for providing special trains home and said the party will pay for their train travel. The Centre had then clarified saying that it would pay 85% of the train fare and the states would contribute the other 15%.

Sharma said the Congress should act responsibly when the state government has announced that it will make arrangements to bring back migrants. He said once the state receives registration from migrants, the government sends an SMS with the information about the boarding time and place. This is done after transport has been arranged.

Sharma said that the state government was committed to bringing back every migrant.

The nationwide lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic has left many migrants stranded across the country. The lockdown that started on March 25 has been extended till May 17. Migrant labourers across states have been demanding to be sent home, while some have also started walking.

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