LAW KUMAR MISHRA
Jharkhand took the lead in bringing its stranded migrant workers and students from other states. A special train with 24 coaches, which left Lingampally station on the outskirts of Hyderabad with migrant workers from the tribal state working in Telangana reached Hatia station late on Friday night.
Two other special trains with students of Jharkhand studying at coaching institutes left Kota. The trains reached Ranchi and Dhanbad stations on Saturday.
Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren in a tweet on Saturday assured that all migrants and students willing to return would be facilitated to come by trains. He welcomed the migrants at Hatia railway station late on Friday night and offered them food packets. They were sent to different districts in 60 buses from the railway station.
The Jharkhand government facilitated return of migrant workers of West Bengal by arranging four buses to take them to Murshibad. The West Bengal government has arranged buses for 430 workers from Sahebganj to Murshibad journey.
As Ministry of railways on Saturday introduced special trains, other state governments have been asked to appoint special co-ordinating officers to make arrangements with the Railways.
In Bihar, CM Nitish Kumar held a six-hour-long digital meet with officers to review the corona situation.
State transport corporation started sending buses to different inter-state borders for the migrant workers coming to Bihar from other parts of the country. Drivers and conductors were called at the Bankipore and sanitised, along with the vehicles.
A special train with migrant workers of Bihar was also arranged from Jaipur station to Patna junction.
With Corona positive cases crossing 466, 5 districts — Patna, Buxar, Rohtas, Munger and Gaya — have been declared hotspots and included as red zones. Munger has 95 positive cases, Rohtas 57, 51 in Buxar and 43 in Patna. 29 of the 38 districts are in the grip of the virus.
Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren expressed his disappointment with the Railways’ decision to charge Rs50 per passenger travelling in the special trains being run for migrant workers. “This is really sad. The central govt should reconsider this decision. In this hour of disaster, it is an injustice to the labour colleagues returning back home,” tweeted the CM. The fare on the Shramik trains includes the price of regular sleeper class tickets plus superfast charges of Rs30 and an additional charge of Rs20. “This includes meals and drinking water for long-distance trains. State govts will coordinate and can pay on passengers’ behalf,” the union home ministry clarified.
No regular trains till May 17
New Delhi: The Railway Ministry on Saturday clarified that cancellation of all passenger train services continues till May 17 due to the Covid-19 nationwide lockdown. However, movement of migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places shall be carried out by Shramik Special trains, as required by the state governments, it said. Freight and Parcel train operations shall continue, as at present. —Our Bureau