Since the government has approved the movement of stranded people across the country, Indian Railways has operated 428 Shramik special trains to transport over 450,000 migrant workers, students, pilgrims and tourists stuck to their home states. However, in a late-night development on Sunday, the Railway Ministry announced that it has given green signal to passenger train services from May 12.
Nearly 1,000 workers from Tamil Nadu, stranded in Maharashtra, reached Tiruchirappalli by a special train operated by Southern Railways on Sunday. They operated similar services to ferry over 3,000 workers to destinations in Manipur and Andhra Pradesh among others from the state.
Similar trains left Chennai, one each for Srikakulam in AP, Jiribam in Manipur and Jagannathpur in Odisha with 881, 1081 and 1038 passengers respectively. Another special train carrying 1,140 migrant workers left from Tamil Nadu's Tiruppur to Muzaffarpur in Bihar. A train left for Jagannathpur in Odisha from here with 1,038 passengers, and another ferrying 1,126 people to Danapur in Bihar departed from Katpadi (Vellore).
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2,280 more people began their journey to Jaunpur and Akbarpur, both in Uttar Pradesh, by two separate trains from Coimbatore, on Sunday.
In Maharashtra, as many as 220 migrants, including women and children, were found going on foot towards Madhya Pradesh on the Mumbai-Agra national highway. They were accommodated in 10 buses and dropped till the border of their home state from Nashik. A Shramik Special train carrying 1,200 migrant workers also left Jalna for Unnao in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday evening.
The state government has also decided to bear the travel expenses of those migrant labourers who lacked resources but wanted to return to their home states amidst the coronavirus-induced lockdown. Once they are eligible as per the new norms for the travel, district collectors concerned will transfer the required amount to the Indian Railways, officials said, adding that the necessary amount will be transferred from the CM Relief Fund.
Meanwhile, students belonging to Jammu and Kashmir, staying in boys and girls hostels of the Jamia Millia Islamia University left for their homes by a special bus arranged by the university.
A special train carrying over 1055 stranded people from Goa to Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir commenced its journey on Sunday. Another train with 1,000 onboard will reach the same destination on May 12.
Western Railway appealed to all migrant workers to avoid walking or staying for rest on railway tracks keeping in mind their personal safety, goods trains and Shramik Special trains are running on the tracks. So far, WR has operated a total of 191 Shramik Special ferrying over 225,000 migrants.
Over 4,000 Odia migrants stranded in Maharashtra and Gujarat returned to their native state in four special trains on Sunday. Another 5,000 migrants are expected to reach Odisha in five special trains originating in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
Seven buses of Haryana Roadways carrying 267 migrant labourers from Ambala departed for Uttar Pradesh on Sunday. "Three buses with 122 people have left for Shamli, two buses with 67 people for Saharanpur and two buses with 78 people for Bhagpat. They will be dropped at the border," RK Gupta, Nodal officer said.
In Kerala, two police personnel were injured after migrant labourers allegedly pelted stones while protesting demanding arrangements to return home. The incident happened in Oruvathilkotta near Akkulam where 700 migrants assembled on Sunday night.