Dozen special trains launch the return of stranded migrants

NEW DELHI: More than a dozen Shramik specials from different stations operated on Saturday to transport stranded migrant workers, students and tourists back to their homes. The final number of trains, the sources said, could be higher with a total of 20 trains scheduled to carry approximately 20,000.

Five trains operated Friday, the day the railroads launched the point-to-point train service for passengers identified by the state government in question. We will increase the number of such trains in the coming days and these will run daily until there is demand. On Saturday, we had planned to run almost 40 trains. But states needed to identify passengers and deploy transportation facilities at the exact location. They also needed to prepare the facilities for health control and quarantine, ”said a railway official.

Some of the routes on which the trains operated on Saturday included Kota-Dhanbad, Nasik-Lucknow, Vasai Road-Gorakhpur, Bhiwandi-Gorakhpur, Sabarmati-Kanpur, Ahmedabad-Agra, Surat-Behrampur, Ernakulam-Danapur, Tirur-Danapur, Kozhikode- Dhanbad, Thiruvananthapuram Central-Hatia and Calicut-Dhanbad.

Rail officials said almost all of the trains originated in the southern, central and southwestern areas. “The zonal railways have been enabled to operate these trains according to the demand of the state administrations. Local district magistrates and railroad division managers are coordinating to operate such trains, ”said the rail official.

Demand for trains is expected to increase in the coming days and gradually decrease as more commercial, manufacturing and other activities begin in safe areas that should help retain workers, the official said. “There may still be some people who need to go home. We are going to run trains as required, he said. The railways have around 20,000 coaches, which are ready for use.

On the issue of who pays for the tickets, a rail official said the issuing state, from where the train originates, will pay the railways on behalf of the passengers and bulk tickets are issued. States will decide whether to pay or recover from passengers. We are not dealing with this problem as the trains are running only after receiving the request from the origin and destination states, ”he added.

TOI learned that the Rajasthan government had paid for the tickets of all passengers from Jaipur to Patna and, in the case of Hatia, the amount of the ticket was borne by the government and the passengers.

Officials also said that once a train reaches its destination, it is disinfected and locked. The train returns to the station of origin where it is disinfected again.