COVID-19: Railways Begin ‘Shramik Special’ Trains To Move Migrant Workers, Other Stranded Citizens

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NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways on May 1, 2020, began operating ‘Shramik Special’ trains to transport migrant workers, tourists, pilgrims, students and others, who were stranded due to the sudden nationwide lockdown effective March 22, back to their home States.

The decision follows revised guidelines by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) allowing the movement of such people by railways. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, all passenger train services have remained suspended for nearly 40 days.

These special trains will 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 for coordination and smooth operation of these ‘Shramik Specials’.

The passengers have to be screened by the sending states and only those found asymptomatic would be allowed to travel. The state governments sending the stranded people will have to bring these persons in batches to the designated railway station in sanitised buses following social distancing norms and other precautions, the Railway Ministry said in a statement.

It will be mandatory for every passenger to wear face cover. Meals and drinking water would be provided to the passengers by the sending states at the originating station.

The Railways will endeavour to ensure social distancing norms and hygiene with the cooperation of passengers, the statement said. On longer routes, the Railways will provide a meal enroute during the journey.

On arrival at the destination, passengers will be received by the state government, which will make all arrangements for their screening, quarantine if necessary and further travel from the railway station.

First Train Arrives In Jharkhand:

Under the Special Shramik Trains run by Ministry of Railways, the first train carrying almost 1,200 stranded labourers of Jharkhand from Telangana will reach to the native state tonight.

Chief Minister Hemant Soren has just now himself reviewed the preparations done by the State Government at Hatia Railway Station in Ranchi and measures implemented to receive the stranded and migrant labourers coming from Telangana.

The District Administration has arranged more than 50 buses for the migrants who will be sent to different districts of the state post-medical screening and sampling as per laid down medical protocols. All migrants shall be provided with face masks, packed food and water till they reach their final destination by the State Government.

Ministry of Railways and State Government efforts have worked in unison to bring back stranded labourers and students stuck in different states across the country.

Chief Minister Hemant Soren has also tweeted about the details of the two special-off trains which will depart from Kota in Rajasthan tonight and tomorrow consecutively to bring back students of Jharkhand stuck in various coaching institutes of Rajasthan. Mr Soren has thanked the Central Government, Indian Railways and Rajasthan Government in extending support to bring back the students.

Migrants stuck in other states will also be brought back in a phased manner, said Chief Minister Hemant Soren while chairing a meeting with Cabinet Ministers and senior officials this evening.

As per the recent list issued by Central Government, only one district of Jharkhand – Ranchi has been kept under Red Zone, nine in Orange and 10 in Green Zone; while 34 containment zones have been identified across the state to contain the spread of Corona virus.

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