New Delhi: The Indian Railways has ferried over 48 lakh migrant workers on board 3,604 'Shramik Special' trains since May 1, according to official data.
Of the total trains, 3,157 have terminated, while 386 are in transit.
The top five states from where maximum trains originated are Gujarat (946), Maharashtra (677), Punjab ( 377), Uttar Pradesh (243) and Bihar (215).
On May 1, the Indian Railways started the migrant special trains to facilitate the movement of such workers back to their home states.
These 'Shramik Special' trains were terminated in various states across the country.
The top five states where maximum trains terminated are Uttar Pradesh (1,392), Bihar (1,123), Jharkhand (156), Madhya Pradesh (119) and Odisha (123).
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has distributed over 78 lakh free meals and more than 1.10 crore water bottles to travelling migrants.
The 'Shramik Special' trains are being operated primarily on the request of states, which want to send migrant workers stranded due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown, to their native places.
While the Indian Railways is bearing 85 per cent of the total cost of running each train, the rest is being borne by states in the form of fares.
The coronavirus-triggered lockdown has had a devastating impact on the economy as well as on the livelihoods of lakhs of migrant workers.
The plight of migrant workers who were walking from several urban centres to their villages hundreds of kilometres away had grabbed headlines for almost two months.
There have been incidents of many of them being killed in road accidents. A number of migrant labourers were killed by a speeding train after they fell asleep on the tracks.
The Indian Railways also said that nearly 80 per cent of 'Shramik Special' trains are destined for various destinations in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
"Most of the destinations in Uttar Pradesh are around Lucknow and Gorakhpur, and in Bihar around Patna. Convergence of trains to these destinations caused some congestion in a particular section of the network," the railways said.
It also said that trains originating from Maharashtra and Gujarat and going to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are mainly taking following routes -- Khandwa-Itarsi-Jabalpur-Manikpur- Prayagraj, Ratlam-Mathura-Palwal-Ghaziabad- Moradabad-Lucknow, Ratlam-Kota-Bayana-Agra-Kanpur route and Ratlam-Nagda-Bhopal-Jhansi-Kanpur route.
(If you have a story in and around Mumbai, you have our ears, be a citizen journalist and send us your story here. )