The Maharashtra government's measures to shut down non-essential businesses to ensure social distancing for preventing coronavirus epidemic seems to have caused overcrowding on trains bound for North India.
As a result of government's diktat to keep restaurants, pubs, malls and other commercial establishments closed, migrants from states such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have been rendered jobless, and are heading home.
While the railways have canceled many trains on otherwise busy routes such as Mumbai-Pune due to non- occupancy, the Central Railway on Friday announced special unreserved trains for north India from Mumbai and Pune on March 20 and 21.
These special services will be operated between Mumbai-Howrah, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (Mumbai) to Gorakhpur, Pune to Howrah, Pune to Balharshah, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus to Manduadih, Pune to Danapur, Nagpur to Santragachi, Mumbai to Patna,Pune to Gorakhpur, and Mumbai to Gorakhpur, a CR release said.
Railway stations in Mumbai from where trains leave for north India witnessed a sudden spike in crowds in the last couple of days.
"The government has announced it is shutting down everything till March-end, so we do not have any work. We have to spend at least Rs 100-150 per day on food and other things if we stay here," said a labourer who works in a hotel and was waiting in a queue to buy ticket for a Lucknow-bound train.
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