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Lockdown impact: UP approves 66 special trains to ferry stranded labourers

Yogi government has estimated return of a million labourers in 2 months

Lockdown | Indian Railway | Coronavirus

Virendra Singh Rawat  |  Lucknow 

A migrant wearing a protective mask boards a train to Jharkhand, during the nationwide lockdown, in Jalandhar. Photo: PTI
A migrant wearing a protective mask boards a train to Jharkhand, during the nationwide lockdown, in Jalandhar. Photo: PTI

The has so far approved nearly 66 ‘Shramik Special’ trains in order to bring back labourers stranded across the country due to the

While, 19 trains have arrived in UP over the past few days, 9 trains are currently en route to the different cities in the state, and 38 more trains have also been given the nod.

“So far, the trains have mainly originated from Gujarat and Maharashtra, while the new trains are coming from other states as well, including Punjab, Karnataka and Kerala etc,” UP additional chief secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi told the media here this evening.

The trains from Punjab will bring UP labourers stuck in the industrial hubs of Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Mohali and Patiala, he said, adding the first train from Bengaluru was also en route. In the coming days, trains will arrive from the states of Odisha, Bihar,
Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Telangana etc.

Besides, the government plans to bring nearly 30,000 nmigrant labourers from UP from Haryana by bus. Last week, more than 12,000 labourers arrived from Haryana by roadways buses. UP and Rajasthan have also agreed for the mutual exchange of about 10,000 migrant labourers by road.

“The process of bringing back our migrant labourers stranded in other states will continue,” Awasthi said.

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While, nearly half a million labourers returned to UP following the 1.0 in March, the Adityanath government estimates that more than a million labourers will return in the next two months.

Against this backdrop, the government is making arrangements to accommodate a million people at the quarantine centres by converting colleges into temporary shelter homes. Besides, the state is planning to increase the capacity of Covid-19 hospital beds to accommodate 100,000 patients/suspected cases if required.

Recently, Adityanath had written to his counterparts in other states seeking co-operation 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.

The labourers arriving in UP are mandated to have served 14 day quarantine in the respective states. Earlier, the state had appointed nodal officers for all the states to coordinate the homecoming of labourers.

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Adityanath has also directed state authorities to look into the creation of employment opportunities, especially in rural areas, for nearly two million people. The state is also planning to expand the ambit of employing labourers in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS).

About 65,000 labourers and students have either returned to UP or were taken to their respective districts within the state by train or bus.

Yesterday, Adityanath asked officials to make arrangements for the screening and quarantine of people arriving in UP from foreign countries at Lucknow and Varanasi.

First Published: Wed, May 06 2020. 17:47 IST