The ministry of railways deployed a special train for migrant workers on Friday, carrying over 1,000 people from Telangana to Jharkhand in 22 coaches.
South Central Railway chief spokesperson Ch Rakesh said a “one-off special train” was run early in the morning on the request of the Telangana government. “It is a one-of-its-kind special train. There are no directions from the ministry for running additional trains, at least for now,” he said.
Railway Protection Force director general Arun Kumar told Hindustan Times: “The train is ferrying nearly 1,200 migrants…The train left from Lingampalli in Telangana to Hatia in Jharkhand at 4:50 am today.” He added that a decision on more such trains could be taken later on Friday.
Considering the hardships faced by the people stuck in other states due to coronavirus lockdown, the Centre earlier allowed to start inter-state movement of students, migrant workers, tourists, pilgrims and other persons. About 10 million migrant laborers are stranded across the country, according to states. Telangana government requested Indian Railways to arrange special trains to send migrant laborers home.
All necessary precautions including prior screening of passengers, maintaining social distancing at the station and in the train were followed, Railways said.
Officials said the train to Jharkhand did not have any stoppages. “It has in all 22 coaches including sleeper and general compartments.
The 1,200 migrant workers, all residents of Jharkhand, were stranded at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Hyderabad campus at Kandi in Sangareddy district due to the lockdown.
No public announcement was made on the running of the special train since it could have triggered chaos with thousands assembling at railway stations in anticipation of more such trains. ”South Central Railway chief spokesperson Ch Rakesh added’.
In the wake of coronavirus pandemic in the country, Indian Railways canceled passenger trains from March 22. However, the freight trains and special trains to carry essential items were allowed amid the lockdown.
The Centre last week issued fresh guidelines for inter-state movement. All states should designate nodal authorities and develop standard protocols for receiving and sending stranded people. The sending and receiving states must agree to “movement by road only,” the ministry said. All the people traveling from one state to another must undergo strict medical screening both at the source and destination cities. However, the movement of migrants, tourists and students will be restricted to non-containment zones.