New Delhi/Bengaluru, June 9 : The UP Mitra portal launched by Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi to help stranded migrant workers go back to their native places is yielding positive results, as senior party leader in Karnataka, D.K. Shivakumar, has arranged for booking tickets for the return of over 99 workers.
Priyanka Gandhi, who is party in-charge for eastern Uttar Pradesh, had launched the UP Mitra portal on May 5, a day after Congress chief Sonia Gandhi announced that the party will bear the cost of train tickets for stranded migrant workers.
Highly-placed sources in the Congress told IANS that Priyanka Gandhi had received around 10 lakh requests from the migrant workers of Uttar Pradesh for their return to their native places on the UP Mitra portal and at the district Congress committees.
“She forwarded the list of stranded migrant workers in Karnataka to the Karnataka Congress to ensure their safe return,” the source said.
Suraj Hegde, Karnataka Congress spokesperson, told IANS, “Till yesterday (Monday), we had booked tickets for over 99 people who wanted to go back to their native places from June 2 onwards.”
According to the Congress leaders, tickets for stranded migrant workers were being booked on the basis of the availability.
Sharing the figures of the people who returned to their native places on the initiative of the Congress, Hegde said that out of the 99 people, about 54 people have returned to Uttar Pradesh, 22 to Assam, three to four people to Nagaland, around eight people to Bihar and the rest to other parts of the country.
The Karnataka Congress leader further said that the return of these 99 people was arranged after June 1, when the Indian Railways started to run 200 time tabled trains.
He said their tickets were arranged on the intervention of senior Congress leader former Karnataka minister Shivakumar, who paid the expenses.
Hegde said that Priyanka Gandhi forwarded the list to the AICC in the Covid-19 control room in Delhi, which then shared the list with the state unit of the party.
“The list was then extensively followed up by the party and Priyanka Gandhi”s team,” he said.
“There was extensive mapping and follow-up of the list shared with us by Priyanka Gandhi”s office. They called us everyday for updates,” Hegde said.
He added that before June 2, when only Shramik Special trains were being operated, the Congress workers helped in preparing the list of the migrant workers who wanted to return to their native places.
“In Karnataka, having the Sewa application on the phone is mandatory. The party workers and leaders helped the migrant workers get themselves enrolled on the app, since many of them didn”t have access to smartphones,” he said.
After their enrolment on the Sewa app, the Congress arranged for their travel till the railway station and also provided them with food packets and gave money to those who did not have cash with them for the journey, he said.
In mid May, Priyanka Gandhi was engaged in a stand-off with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over the arrangement of 1,000 buses to transport migrant workers. However, the state government had turned down the request.
But despite getting discouraged, she ensured the safe return of over 44,000 migrant workers to Uttar Pradesh from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Punjab and other states.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at [email protected])