Left to suffer for six weeks and ignored by even the country’s Supreme Court, the railway ministry finally announced special train services to transport hundreds of thousands of migrant workers from around India to their native homes.
This was announced by the Indian railway ministry on Friday. The ministry tweeted, “Railways start ‘Shramik Special’ Trains to move migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places due to lock down Trains will be run from point to point on the request of both the concerned State Governments.”
Railways start ‘Shramik Special’ Trains to move migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places due to lock down
— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) May 1, 2020
The ministry also issued a statement saying that ‘as per the guideline issued by Ministry of Home Affairs, it has been decided to run “Shramik Special” trains from “Labour Day” today, to move migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places due to lock down.’
The railway ministry said, “These special trains will be run from point to point on the request of both the concerned State Governments as per the standard protocols for sending and receiving such stranded persons. The Railways and State Governments shall appoint senior officials as Nodal Officers for coordination and smooth operation of these “Shramik Specials”.”
All passengers will be required to be screened by the sending states and only those found asymptomatic would be allowed to travel. Sending state governments will have to bring these persons in batches that can be accommodated in the train to the designated railway station in sanitised buses following social distancing norms and other precautions. It will be mandatory for every passenger to wear a face cover. Meals and drinking water would be provided to the passengers by the sending states at the originating station.
According to the railway ministry, the Railways will endeavour to ensure social distancing norms and hygiene with the cooperation of passengers. On longer routes, the ministry said, the railways will provide a meal enroute during the journey.
On arrival at the destination, passengers will be received by the state government, who would make all arrangements for their screening, quarantine if necessary and further travel from the railway station.
Earlier, the Telangana government had flagged off a special train to Jharkhand carrying 1200 migrant workers.