Covid-19: As trains roll in, states scurry to cope with migrant influx

Migrants labourers board on May 01, 2020 a bus at the Lingampally railway station in Telangana to catch a train that will take them to Ranchi. (PTI Photo)
As some states braced for a large return of migrants, more non-stop ‘Shramik Special’ trains were operated on Saturday to ferry stranded workers, a day after the Railways rolled out the first such passenger service during the national lockdown.

The first train to Bihar carrying 1,187 stranded migrant labourers reached the Danapur railway station on the outskirts of Patna from Jaipur in the afternoon after a 16-hour journey. Most of the train services originated from Kerala, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

As plans were afoot to operate hundreds of trains in the coming days, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar appealed to migrant workers in their states not to leave.

The UP government requested that before labourers are sent, states from which they are travelling must provide details of such workers, along with a certificate that they had been medically screened.

“The chief minister (Yogi Adityanath) has directed officials to facilitate more such trains to bring back our stranded labourers by coordinating with the respective state governments,” UP additional chief secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi told the media here.

Meanwhile, Adityanath has written to his counterparts in other states seeking cooperation in bringing back these labourers. The letters have been sent to the CMs of Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi and Rajasthan.  The first train carrying migrant workers from Gujarat to their home states left at 5.30 pm on Saturday, carrying 1,200 passengers to Agra from the Sabarmati railway station in Ahmedabad. 

However, the trip was not void of problems. Packed in over a dozen buses, around 2,000 migrants were brought from Piplaj and other nearby rural areas of Ahmedabad in the wee hours of Saturday and were made to wait for hours.

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