What social distancing? Thousands of migrant workers gather outside Bandra Terminus to board Shramik special train
Photo Credit: ANI

Mumbai: A huge crowd of over 2,200 migrant labourers had gathered outside Bandra Terminus on Tuesday morning to board a Shramik special train to Purnia, Bihar, which caused panic. The crowd was later dispersed by police after calming them down and a total of 1,800 labourers were sent to Bihar in the special train that originated from Bandra Terminus in the noon.

The labourers staying at Nirmal Nagar in Bandra (E) learnt about a special train leaving for Bihar, after which migrants had received phone calls informing the same and over a thousand workers from neighbouring areas like Chembur, Dharavi, Sion and Mahim camped outside Bandra Terminus from Tuesday midnight hoping to board the train. However, the train was originally supposed to board only those workers who had registered themselves beforehand.

At around 9 am, when the empty rakes of the train arrived, all the migrant labourers tried to board it, leading to a commotion. After proper thermal screening and checking the names in the given list, the labourers were allowed to board the train, which left with 1,700 workers in the noon.

Girish Pillai, divisional railway manager, WR said “Shramik special” train for Bihar from Bandra Terminus was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon and 1,300 migrants who had registered themselves were allowed to board. “The chaos was seen due to the thermal screening procedures and all necessary steps were taken by the Mumbai and Railway Police to handle the crowd,” he said.

Manjunath Singe, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 8) confirmed there was a slight commotion but the crowd was dispersed without any police force. "Additional compartments were attached to the train, which further accommodated over 400 extra labourers and a total of 1,700 labourers were sent to Bihar.

Ravindra Bhakar, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of Western Railway said, "Many people who were not registered and not called by the state authorities gathered near the station. The bonafide passengers were checked and allowed to enter the station by state machinery."

Similarly on May 18, many migrants had thronged at the Bandra Terminus after they heard that Western Railway is running a special train for Howrah. “Currently there are no special trains for Howrah from Mumbai, so migrants should not believe any such rumours and should coordinate with the local police before stepping out of the house,” said a railway official.

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