The ‘Shramik Special’ train carrying 845 stranded labourers of Uttar Pradesh origin left Nashik, Maharashtra this morning and is expected to reach the state capital tomorrow.
“The special train with about 845 of our workers brethren will arrive in Lucknow tomorrow via Jhansi and Kanpur,” UP additional chief secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi told the media here this evening.
He said the state government was coordinating with the Maharashtra and Gujarat authorities for bringing back its native labourers, who are stuck there following the lockdown.
However, the government has requested that before the labourers are sent, these states must provide the details about them, along with certificates that they have been medically screened and are healthy.
“The chief minister (Yogi Adityanath) has directed officials to facilitate more such trains to bring back our stranded labourers by coordinating with the respective state governments,” Awasthi said adding talks were underway with the Maharashtra and Gujarat officials.
Meanwhile, Adityanath has written to his counterparts in other states seeking cooperation in bringing back these labourers. The letters have been sent to the CMs of Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi and Rajasthan.
While, almost half a million labourers are estimated to have returned to UP following the lockdown in March, the UP government has projected that almost a million labourers could return over the next 1-2 months.
Recently, UP and Madhya Pradesh had exchanged 6,600 of their stranded labourers. While, UP origin labourers totalling 5,259 stuck in MP were brought back aboard 155 buses, about 1,341 stranded labourers belonging to MP returned to their native state from UP on board 50 buses.
Now, the Adityanath government is working for bringing back UP labourers stranded in Rajasthan and Uttarakhand by buses. The estimated number of labourers stuck in Rajasthan and Uttarakhand is 6,500 and 1,500 respectively.
Last week, the state had deployed over 80 UP State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) buses to facilitate the return of more than 12,000 of labourers stranded in Haryana.
All the labourers arriving in UP are mandated to have served 14 day quarantine in the respective states. On their arrival, they are again medically screened and lodged in temporary shelter homes in their districts to serve another 14 day quarantine period.
Expecting the mega surge in arrivals in the coming weeks, the state government is taking steps to expand the capacity of quarantine centres to accommodate a million people, and to convert vacant college premises as temporary quarantine centres at the district level.
The CM has also directed for creating employment opportunities, especially in the rural areas, for almost 2 million people.
UP has reported 2,455 coronavirus cases across 64 districts, of which 656 have been discharged, while 43 persons succumbed during treatment, leaving 1,756 active cases.