Repeat of 2020? Thousands reach railway station to leave Mumbai
The fear of a 2020-like situation prompted thousands of people, most of them migrant workers, to arrive at the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in Mumbai on Wednesday, with the hope of boarding long-distance trains. Seeing the sheer number of people, the Central Railways urged everyone not to panic and avoid over-crowding. To note, newer restrictions will be enforced in Maharashtra from tonight.
Last night at 8:30 pm, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray addressed the citizens, revealing the dangerous situation in the state. The Shiv Sena leader spoke about the oxygen cylinder demands, explained the steps his government was taking, and released guidelines to stem the spread of the infection. Section 144 has been imposed in Maharashtra from 8 pm today till 7 am on May 1.
Thackeray had revealed that barring essential services, all establishments, public places, activities, services will remain closed. Manufacturing units have also been permitted to operate. His government would also be providing monetary support to unprivileged sections. Construction workers registered with the State Construction Workers Welfare Board will get Rs. 1,500/month and registered street vendors will also get the same amount.
With the curbs set to kick in soon, workers are anticipating a repeat of last year's situation. In March 2020, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had imposed a complete lockdown, migrant workers were caught unprepared. They had started walking toward their homes and some succumbed to the scorching heat on the way. It was only in May that the government ferried trains for them.
Shivam Pandey, who hails from Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi, said he is left with no option now that strict curbs have been enforced. "Now that curfew has been imposed, what would we do here? What would we eat? We are leaving the city because we do not want to go through the pain we endured during the lockdown," he told ANI.
On the unprecedented scenes at the station, Central Railway's Chief Public Relations Officer Shivaji Sutar said, "Only passengers having confirmed tickets are permitted to board the special trains and they should reach the stations one-and-a-half hours before the train's departure time." The Central Railways is monitoring waiting lists of trains to check if there is an increased demand for tickets to a particular destination.