The Karnataka government on Thursday decided to restart the special train services for migrant workers after coming under severe criticism. The state in a letter sought consent of several states to operate trains to transport stranded migrant labourers, tourists and students. It has sought permission for 13 trains mostly to the northern part of the country which will ferry migrants from May 5 to 18.
Earlier the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government in the state had cancelled all special trains to ferry migrants after a meeting with builders. The chief minister had said that the migrants were needed in the state as the lockdown was lifted and construction activities would soon resume. The government had reiterated that the cancellation had nothing to do with the meeting with builders but it came under severe criticism from all sectors with the Congress calling the move an attempt at bonded labour.
An internal assessment by the home department in the state had also allegedly pointed out that there was a possibility of labour unrest if the migrants were forcefully held back. The government while cancelling the trains had also announced several packages for the registered workers including a rise in benefit given to them.