Five special trains carrying stranded people, more to run in the coming weeks

NEW DELHI: One day after the Center said the buses will be used to take migrant workers back to their home states, six Shramik Special trains to transport workers, students and tourists also began after a go-ahead from the ministry of the home. With several states approaching railroads, special trains will be a regular feature in the coming weeks.

Trains will be able to facilitate the movement of more people in less time than would have been the case if only buses were allowed. Hours after the first train left Lingampalli, the Interior Ministry issued revised guidelines allowing trains for interstate transportation of stranded people in the middle of the shutdown.

Railroad ministry officials said some more point-to-point trains will be run in the coming days. “As prescribed by MHA guidelines, we will run special trains only when the state approaches us. Several states are discussing with our zonal offices. We are ready to operate more trains that meet the standards, said an official with the railway ministry.

Almost all the trains that started on Friday had 24 cars each and carried around 1,000-1,200 passengers. About 54 passengers are allowed on a sleeper bus instead of the normal provision to accommodate 72 passengers. This is being done to maintain social distance during the trip, the official said.

In some cases, coaches were assigned by destinations on the route. For example, the train from Ranchi had trainers marked as Palamu, Ramgarh, and Gumla. This was done to ensure that only those passengers assigned to a particular station were on the specified bus and were dropped according to the schedule.

According to MHA guidelines, the railroads have appointed nodal officers to coordinate with the states. “These trains run only for nominees identified and registered by state governments. Neither must come to the stations to obtain a ticket. Bulk tickets are provided to the state and therefore there is no sale of tickets for individuals. We will only allow those passengers to be transported by the state government, ”said the official.

Regarding the fare, the respective state governments will coordinate and pay the ticket price for a sleeping class and another 50 rupees per passenger. The rate includes free meals and drinking water during the trip.

Passengers nominated by state governments will be screened at departure points and allowed to proceed if they are asymptomatic. Upon arrival, they will be evaluated by local authorities and quarantined, unless they require institutional surveillance.

Whereas before, buses were only allowed to transport these people, transporting thousands of thousands of migrants stranded by road, and that also over long distances was almost impossible.