Over 450 Shramik trains brought half a million migrants home: Railways

A migrant wearing a protective mask boards a train to Jharkhand, during the nationwide lockdown, in Jalandhar. Photo: PTI
The Indian Railways has run over 450 'Shramik Special trains' and brought over 500,000 migrant workers to their respective states, said RD Bajpai, Railways Executive Director.

"We have run more than 450 'Shramik Special trains' and brought over 500,000 migrants to their respective states. Our target is to run more than 100 trains a day and we will achieve it," Bajpai told ANI.

The North Central Railway said as many as 50,000 migrants have been brought back in 42 terminating Shramik Special trains at different stations in the region.

As of May 11, 2020, a total of 49,624 migrants have been safely brought in at different stations on NCR in 42 terminating trains.

Six special trains to West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar and Jharkhand ferrying 7,841 passengers to their native places amid the extended Covid-19 lockdown left the city on Monday, an official said.

"The sixth and last train departed from Malur to Bokaro, Jharkhand, at 9:46 p.m. with 1,540 passengers, including 25 children," said a South Western Railway (SWR) official.

The third Shramik Express train from Goa left for Udhampur carrying 728 stranded migrant workers back to their home state of Jammu and Kashmir from the Madgaon railway station, a government spokesperson said on Monday.

This was the third Shramik Express train being operated by the Konkan Railway to ferry stranded migrant workers to other states. The state's first Shramik Express train had left for Gwalior on May 8. The second train which left Goa on Sunday was also scheduled for Udhampur.

A bus carrying 23 migrant labourers arrived here from Telangana on Monday after a three-day journey across three states, officials said.

The workers, who hail from Pathar Pratima in South 24 Parganas district, claimed they were left penniless after making a payment of Rs 1.5 lakh to the bus owner for the over 1600-km journey.

More than 21,700 people, most of them migrant workers, were transported over the last three days in 1,169 buses to Maharashtra's borders with adjoining states amid the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, government-run undertaking MSRTC said on Monday.

As many as 21,714 people were ferried to border points in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka, the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC).

In Karnataka, people returning from other states will have to remain in institutional quarantine even if they are asymptomatic, according to the state government.

"All persons returning to Karnataka from any state, symptomatic or asymptomatic shall be kept in institutional quarantine," read an order issued by the State Health and Family Welfare Services.

In Andhra Pradesh, the government has made all arrangements to screen people returning from the US and to send them to dedicated quarantine centres soon after they land.

Special arrangements have been made at the three international airports in the state -Vijayawada, Vishakhapatnam and Tirupati airports to receive the flights bringing back Indian nationals.

In Madhya Pradesh, a group of migrant labourers who undertook a long painstaking journey from Mumbai to reach their native village in Gonda, are now being forced to spend their quarantine period in an open field.

"From Mumbai till Gonda it took us about 10 days. We had come here hoping to live in our safe homes amid the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown. However, upon reaching here the villagers have shut the doors on us. They say we bring coronavirus," said Ram Tirath Yadav, a labourer who used to earn his daily living in Mumbai.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear a petition filed by lawyer Alakh Alok Srivastava, seeking instruction to the Union of India to identify and transport each stranded labourer to his or her home in a dignified manner.

Srivastava had filed the petition before the apex court, after the tragic incident in which 16 poor migrant labourers were killed in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, in a train accident, news agency ANI reported.

In his petition, Srivastava stated that despite the Supreme Court's earlier direction in his petition, why no concrete action has been taken to avert the heartwrenching train accident, which took place on May 8, 2020, at Gadhejalgaon village in Aurangabad district in Maharashtra.

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