Railways ferried over 2.5 lakh people stranded during lockdown: MHA


Indian Railways (Photo:PTI)

Indian Railways (Photo:PTI)

Over 2.5 lakh passengers have travelled on 222 special trains for migrant labourers stranded because of the ongoing lockdown announced to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Friday.

Addressing a press conference, MHA Joint Secretary Punya Salila Srivastava said the government intends to give relaxations to people within the lockdown guidelines.

These trains are part of this endeavour, she said.

Asked about the killing of 16 migrant workers on railway tracks in Aurangabad in Maharashtra, she said it was an “unfortunate” incident.

Giving details of steps taken by the government to ease woes of stranded Indians abroad, she said the process to bring them back in a phased manner starting on Thursday using non-scheduled commercial flights and naval ships.

An Inter-Ministerial Coordination Committee comprising officials from ministries of Health, External Affairs and Home Affairs, Civil Aviation and Armed Forces and Air India has been constituted to implement SOPs for the evacuation of the stranded people to and from India, she said.

“All stranded Indians can get registered at respective missions…The travellers will be screened before taking up the flight and only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed,” she said, quoting the standard operating procedures (SOPs) regrading travel of Indians stranded abroad.

They will have to give an undertaking that after arrival they will be in compulsory institutional quarantine for 14 days on their own expense, she said.

The evacuees will have to register on Arogya Setu app and will undergo compulsory medical testing for COVID- 19 upon arrival, she said.