800 ‘Shramik Special’ trains run so far, 10 lakh migrants ferried home: Railways

PTI

Special train ferrying migrant workers from Maharashtra to UP (Twitter image)

Special train ferrying migrant workers from Maharashtra to UP (Twitter image)

The Railways has operated 800 Shramik Special trains since May 1, ferrying home 10 lakh migrant workers who were stranded in various parts of the country due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown, officials said on Thursday.

Of these, Uttar Pradesh received the maximum number of trains followed by Bihar they said.

“As on May 14, 2020, a total of 800 ‘Shramik Special’ trains have been operationalised from various states across the country. More than 10 lakh passengers have reached their home state.

“Trains are being run by the Railways only after concurrence is given both by the state which is sending the passengers and the state which is receiving them,” the railways said.

These 800 trains were terminated in various states like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Mizoram, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.

Proper screening of the passengers is being carried out before they board the trains, the Railways said, adding that during the journey, the passengers are given free meals and water.

From Monday, these Shramik Special trains started carrying around 1,700 passengers each, instead of the earlier 1,200, to ferry as many workers home as possible.

While initially, these trains had no stoppages, the railways announced on Monday that up to three stoppages in the destination states will be allowed. The decision was taken after several state governments made a request in this regard, officials said.

While the railways is yet to announce the cost incurred on these special services, officials indicated that the national transporter is spending around Rs 80 lakh per service.

The Centre had earlier stated that the cost of the services was shared on an 85:15 ratio between Centre and states.

Since the Shramik Special train service started, Gujarat has remained the top originating state, followed by Kerala.

Earlier, the Railways drew flak from opposition parties for charging for these services.

In its guidelines, the national transporter has said the trains will ply only if they have a 90-per cent occupancy.

On Monday, a statement issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the Railways will now run 100 Shramik Specials every day to facilitate faster movement of stranded workers.

(PTI)