Last trains carrying migrants to reach UP in 2-3 days
The massive exercise to bring migrant workers of Uttar Pradesh to their home state will end in 2-3 days with the culmination of the final batch of Shramik special trains, the state government said on Thursday. Till now, over 19.15 lakh migrants have returned in 1,411 special trains. Since no more migrants are registering themselves, the government is looking to end the process.
This development was announced by Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Kumar Awasthi. He said, "The governments of Gujarat, Delhi, Punjab, Telangana, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Haryana, etc. have all informed us that there are either no people coming to UP or there are very few of those left." Saying no fresh trains or buses are needed, Awasthi revealed the last set will arrive from Maharashtra, Kerala, etc.
After the special trains started on May 1, the government arranged for 1,551 of them. In the next two days, nearly 2 lakh will return to their home state in 140 trains, Awasthi said. 7.12 lakh in 490 trains returned from Gujarat, 4.55 lakh came from Maharashtra on 327 trains, and 228 trains from Punjab brought 2.67 lakh migrants home till Thursday, he disclosed.
Yesterday, during a hearing on the migrants' crisis in the Supreme Court, the counsel of the Centre, Tushar Mehta, informed that UP and Bihar were the destinations for around 80% of workers. The daily wage laborers were left with no jobs after a lockdown was imposed on March 25 to contain the transmission of coronavirus. With transportation modes suspended, most of them walked.
The representative of the Bihar government told the apex court that nearly 10 lakh migrants came to the state by road. This number didn't include the ones who traveled by trains. He added that quarantine centers, complete with necessary facilities, were built at panchayat, block, and village levels. Those who came from the same area were put together. The state was reimbursing travel expenses.
Mehta apprised the court that between May 1 and 27, 3,700 trains transported over 50 lakh migrants. "Over and above 50 lakh migrant workers shifted through special Shramik trains, 41 lakh migrant workers were taken from their respective places to their desired destination through road transport," Mehta said. He also reminded of other initiatives the Centre took to help migrants.
Noting that several lapses happened on part of the government, the bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and MR Shah ordered that migrants won't be charged for transportation, and it should be handled by states. The Railways will provide them food and water during the journey, and sending states were ordered to give them meals. The entire process should be expedited too.