Home Ministry allows 'Shramik Special' trains to ferry migrant workers
The Centre on Friday allowed the use of special trains to ferry stranded migrant workers, students, pilgrims, and others. The decision comes as several states—including Rajasthan, Bihar, Kerala, etc.—had asked the Centre to allow special trains, and not just buses, to transport those stranded. The Railways Ministry has now issued detailed guidelines for the operation of these "Shramik Special" trains.
A Home Ministry order on Friday stated, "Movement of migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students, and other persons, stranded at different places, is allowed by special trains to be operated by the Ministry of Railways." Earlier on Friday, the first such special train carrying 1,200 passengers ran from Telangana for Jharkhand. A second train will depart from Kerala's Ernakulam for Bhubaneshwar in Odisha this evening.
Ministry of Home Affairs allows the movement of migrant workers, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places, by special trains. pic.twitter.com/cYFRCvTBLj— ANI (@ANI) May 1, 2020
After trains were green-lit for ferrying stranded persons, the Railways Ministry issued guidelines for the same. Rajesh Dutt Bajpai, Executive Director Information and Publicity at the Railway Board, said, "As per the guideline issued by MHA, it has been decided to run 'Shramik Special' trains from 'Labour Day' today, to move migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and others stranded due to lockdown."
The special trains will run from point to point on request of both concerned state governments sending and receiving the passengers. Nodal officers will be appointed by the Railways Ministry and state governments for the smooth operation of these trains. The states sending the passengers must screen them beforehand and allow migration only if they are found asymptomatic.
States sending passengers must ferry them to train stations via sanitized buses in batches, following all precautions. Passengers must mandatorily wear face covers. They will be provided with meals at originating stations by the states sending them. Railways will provide them meals on longer journeys. On arrival, receiving states will make arrangements for screening, quarantine (if required), and further travel from the train station.
Bajpai said, "At this point in time of crisis faced by the nation, all officers and staff of the Indian Railways are committed to serving our fellow Indians and seek everyone's support and cooperation."