Permit more special trains for migrants, Centre tells states


New Delhi

The Centre on Sunday appealed to all states to permit the operation of more special trains for stranded workers so they can reach home in the next 3-4 days, as six more people died during the countrywide exodus of the migrants facing hardships and even risking lives to travel during the lockdown.

Senior railway officials say the national transporter has a capacity to run around 300 trains a day ferrying around 20 lakh migrants in a maximum of 5 days, while it has operated 366 such ‘Shramik Special’ trains since May 1 and carried around 4 lakh migrants to their states.

The opposition Congress asked the government to show more empathy to migrants and protect them during the crisis, saying what is happening to them is “perhaps the greatest human tragedy of our times”.

Despite the Centre allowing trains for stranded migrants who wish to return to native places, the sheer numbers are overwhelming and many are taking the unofficial route of private vehicles or are trekking for hundreds of kms in the summer heat.

At least six migrant labourer were killed and 14 others injured when a truck in which they were travelling overturned in Madhya Pradesh’s Narsinghpur district on Saturday night.

The labourers were going in the truck laden with mangoes to Jhansi, Etah and Barabanki in UP from Hyderabad, police said.

The truck were going to Lakhisarai and Madhubani districts, the police said.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal appealed to all states to permit the operation of migrant special trains so that the stranded can reach home in the next 3-4 days.

The appeal comes a day after Home Minister Amit Shah wrote to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to allow such trains to run.

“As per the directions of Hon'ble PM @NarendraModi ji, Railways is fully geared up to run 300 Shramik Special trains everyday at short notice since the last six days. I appeal to all the states to give permission to evacuate and bring back their stranded migrants so that we can get all of them back to their homes in the next 3-4 days itself,” Goyal tweeted on Sunday.

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Free Press Journal