By DK Sinha
Patna: After the first train with 1200 migrant workers from Jharkhand chugged out of Lingampally in Telangana for Hatia on Friday morning at 5 AM, now it was the turn of migrants from Bihar and other states to return their homes as the railways arranged special trains for them.
As per the guideline issued by Ministry of Home Affairs, the Railways has decided to run “Shramik Special” trains from “Labour Day” today, to move migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places due to lock down.
Based on MHA guidelines and as per the demands received from the various state governments, at least seven special trains rolled out from various stations across the country on May 01 for the benefit of stranded workers. Besides Lingampalli to Hatia, other trains ran from Aluva to Bhubaneswar, Nasik to Lucknow, Nasik to Bhopal, Jaipur to Patna and Kota to Hatia. Similarly, 09771 Jaipur Danapur Migrant Special Train was scheduled to depart from Jaipur on May 1 at 10 pm and reach Danapur next day at 12:45pm.
These special trains are being run from point to point on the request of both the concerned state governments as per the standard protocols for sending and receiving such stranded persons. The Railways and state governments shall appoint senior officials as nodal officers for coordination and smooth operation of these “Shramik Specials”.
The passengers have to be screened by the sending states and only those found asymptomatic would be allowed to travel. State governments will have to bring these persons in batches that can be accommodated in the train to the designated railway station in sanitised buses following social distancing norms and other precautions. It will be mandatory for every passenger to wear face cover. Meals and drinking water would be provided to the passengers by the sending states at the originating station.
The Railways will endeavour to ensure social distancing norms and hygiene with the cooperation of passengers. On longer routes, the Railways will provide a meal en route during the journey.
On arrival at the destination, passengers will be received by the state government, who would make all arrangements for their screening, quarantine if necessary and further travel from the railway station.
The glimmer of hope for the state’s stranded migrant workers became brighter when deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi had appealed to the centre to arrange special trains so that they could be brought back. He also unambiguously said that the state did not have adequate number of buses to bring back the migrant workers.
Modi said that it would not be practical to bring people back to the state through buses as buses would take 6-7 days for each trip, In such a situation, it would take months to get all people back homes if the government depended on buses for the purpose.