MHA Allows Special Trains to Ferry Stranded People Amid Lockdown

MHA stated that the passengers will be screened by sending states and only those found asymptomatic will be allowed.

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The Centre on Friday, 1 May, allowed the movement of students, migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists and others stranded at various places by special trains to be operated by the Ministry of Railways.

“MHA has today allowed movement of stranded students, migrant workers, tourists, pilgrims, etc via rail as well. States and Railway Board will make necessary arrangements,” said Punya Salila Srivastava, Joint Secretary, MHA, according to ANI.

The decision was taken two days after the government approved movement through buses, to transport them from one state to another. The order came as lockdown 2.0 is about to end on 3 May.

MHA Allows Special Trains to Ferry Stranded People Amid Lockdown
(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

'Shramik Special’ by Railways

Railways Executive Director (Media) R.D. Bajpai said in a statement that as per the guidelines issued by Ministry of Home Affairs, it was decided to run "Shramik Special" trains to return all the stranded people to their native states.

Ministry of Railways stated, “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.”

In Maharashtra, migrant labourers arrived at Nashik railway station to take 'Shramik Special Trains' to Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.

Following the guidelines of MHA, the ministry stated that the passengers will be screened by sending states and only those found asymptomatic will be allowed to travel.

“The state governments will have to bring passengers in batches to the designated Railway Station, in sanitized buses, following social distancing norms and other precautions,” the ministry noted.

“Special trains for migrant workers, tourists, students and other persons planned to run today from Lingampalli to Hatia, Aluva to Bhubaneswar, Nasik to Lucknow, Nasik to Bhopal, Jaipur to Patna and Kota to Hatia,” added the Ministry of Railways.

Train for Migrants in Kerala, Telangana

Earlier on Friday, a one-off special train was run to transport 1,200 stranded migrants from Lingampalli in Telangana's Hyderabad to Jharkhand's Hatia. This was the first such train to run amid the nationwide lockdown. Railway Protection Force DG Arun Kumar told PTI that the train had 24 coaches and started at 4:50 am on Friday.

The first special train from Kerala carrying 1,200 migrant workers to Bhubaneswar in Odisha from the Aluva railway station near Ernakulam (Kerala) was scheduled at 6 pm on Friday, state Minister VS Sunil Kumar said.

The workers will be screened by the Health Department and also by the police before the journey and those who clear the screening will be allowed to travel on the train. The workers will be transported to the station by the government. People won’t be allowed to come and halt at the station premise in order to avoid jostling.

“All those who are going will have to pay the base fare. Around 1,200 migrant labourers are expected to be on board. Tomorrow, we are planning more trains. These are all non-stop trains. We alone cannot do this, as partnering states to which these people are going also have to agree,” said State Home Secretary Biswas Mehta, reported IANS.

Meanwhile, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren said, “Two special trains will leave Rajasthan's Kota for Jharkhand, with our students on board, today. I thank the central government and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on behalf of the people of Jharkhand for their help.”

(With inputs from ANI, IANS)

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