New Delhi: In the wake of demands by different state governments to run special trains to ferry people stuck in various states, Indian Railways said it will run special trains from Friday itself to move labourers, pilgrims, tourists and students stranded across the country.
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 migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students, and others to their native states.
The senior officials of the Railways and Home Ministry had a meeting on Thursday to discuss the issue.
The development comes on a day when the Railways ran its first special train in almost 40 days from Telangana to Jharkhand to transport 1,200 migrant labourers.
The railways had suspended passenger, mail and express trains as the nationwide lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from March 24 midnight to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.
Bajpai said these special trains will be run from point to point on the request of both state governments concerned as per the standard protocols for sending and receiving such stranded persons.
- COVID-19: Indian migrant workers take first train home since lockdown
- Informal workers risk livelihoods being 'destroyed' by COVID-19: ILO
- Coronavirus: Indian migrant worker dies of a heart attack after walking over 200km to his village in Madhya Pradesh, amid lockdown
- COVID-19: Registration begins for stranded migrant labourers in Kerala
“The railways and state governments shall appoint senior officials as nodal officers for coordination and smooth operation of these Shramik Special trains,” the official said.
Elaborating, he said the passengers have to be screened by the states in which people were stuck and allow only those found asymptomatic to travel.
“The state governments concerned will have to bring these stranded persons in batches that can be accommodated in trains at designated railway stations by sanitised buses and following social distancing norms and other precautions.
“It will be mandatory for every passenger to wear a face mask. Meals and drinking water will be provided to the travellers by states concerned at the train’s originating station,” the official said.
He said that the Railways will endeavour to ensure social distancing norms and hygiene on board with the cooperation of passengers. “On longer routes, the Railways will provide a meal en route,” he said.
Bajpai said that on arrival at the destination station, passengers will be received by officials of the respective state governments, who would also make all arrangements for their screening, quarantine if necessary and further travel from the railway station.
The national transporter has suspended regular services of passenger and express trains until further notice, running only freight and special parcel trains to ensure supply of essential items across the country.