Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has requested the Centre not to charge any amount from migrant labourers for travelling by train to their native places during the coronavirus-enforced lockdown.
Nearly five lakh migrant labourers have been given food and shelter for 40 days in various state facilities, and now they have expressed the desire to go back home in view of the current situation, Mr Thackeray said in a communication to the Centre late Sunday night.
"These people have no source of income since last some weeks. Hence, on humanitarian ground, the Centre should not charge them for travelling," the chief minister said.
Many NGOs, social workers and individuals have come forward to bear the cost of train tickets for migrant labourers, he said.
Mr Thackeray also asked the state officials concerned to be ready to handle large scale groups of migrant workers, if the Centre decides to run trains from cities like Mumbai, Thane and Pune to take them to their hometowns.
Maharashtra Power Minister Nitin Raut has already requested the Railway Ministry to bear the cost of transportation of the migrant labourers to their destinations.