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South Western Railway completes operating 100 special trains, ferries over one lakh stranded

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Press Trust of India  |  Bengaluru 

Signalling its achievement amid

the COVID-19 lockdown, the South Western Railway said it completed operating 100 Shramik special trains on Wednesday and ferried 1.4 lakh stranded migrant workers, students and others in its zone since the services started in the region on May 3.

After the lockdown to contain coronavirus was imposed in the country on March 24, train services were suspended.

To address the growing desperation among the migrant workers stranded in many parts of the country, the Railways decided to start the Shramik special trains in association with the State government.

"Since the trains were started at the request of the State government, they bore the expenses and accordingly collected train fare from the passengers," a SWR official said.

On Wednesday itself, the SWR decided to run 13 Shramik Special trains from various stations to different destinations.

According to the SWR officials, the Shramik special trains from its region started operating from May 3 before the operations were suspended aruptly on the directions of the Karnataka government for three days.

"In the initial three days we operated eight trains," an officer said.

According to reports, on May 6, the services were suspended abruptly as some builders of Bengaluru called on Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa explaining to him that the departure of migrant workers would impact their ongoing projects badly.

Hours after the meeting, the train services were suspended.

After facing flak from several quarters for the decision, the government decided to resume the services from May 8.

According to the data shared by the SWR, 1,40,473 passengers have been transported to various parts of India.

Most of the passengers are from Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

Of the 100 trains operated from the SWR region, 39 departed from Chikkabanavara in Bengaluru, 37 departed from Malur in Kolar district, seven each from Bengaluru cantonment and Hubballi Railway Station, two each from Bengaluru City Railway Station, Kabakaputtur in Mysuru and Ashokapuram in Mysuru, Ballari and one each from Hospet in Ballari district and Hassan district.

The Railways either arranged food for these passengers from its own resources or through some sponsors.

The inspiring feature of operating these trains was that the Railway Protection Force and the Government Railway Police (GRP) stood in rows all long the railway platform and clapped at the time of departure of these trains,it said.

The SWR also distributed the 700 Channapattana toys, which are geographical indication tagged, to the children of migrant workers on Tuesday.

"These toys were procured by the commercial department of Bengaluru division and distributed under 'Put the Smile Back' initiative launched by the Divisional Railway Manager of Bengaluru divisoin Ashok Kumar Verma to make the journey of the children of migrant workers enjoyable and memorable," the Railways said in a statement.

They had also distributed chocolates and toys on Monday to 50 children, the SWR said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, May 20 2020. 19:07 IST