MIGRANTS RESORT TO DESPERATE MEANS TO REACH HOME, CENTRE ASKS STATES TO PERMIT MORE SPECIAL TRAINS
The Centre on Sunday disputed to all states to authorize the undertaking of more notable trains for wrecked laborers so that they can reach home in the next four days, as six more people died during the country-wide exodus of expatriates who are facing hardships and even risking their lives to travel during the coronavirus lockdown.
The Railways said it has regulated 366 such ‘Shramik Special’ trains since May 1 and shipped around four lakh migrants.
The opponent Congress asked the government to indicate more empathy to settlers and insure them during the crisis, saying what is transpiring to them is “perhaps the greatest mortal tragedy of our times”.
Despite the Centre allowing special trains for stranded migrants who wish to return to their native places, the sheer numbers are overwhelming and many of them are putting up with the unofficial route of private vehicles or are journeying for hundreds of kilometers in the summer heat.
At least six migrant laborers were assassinated and 14 others injured when a truck in which they were traveling toppled in Madhya Pradesh’s Narsinghpur district on Saturday night. The laborers were going in the truck loaded with mangoes to Jhansi, Etah, and Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh from Hyderabad, police said.
The occurrence came near on the heels of 16 migrant workers, who were sleeping on rail tracks while returning to Madhya Pradesh, being chopped to death by an interest train in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra.
The migrant workers, provided jobless due to the coronavirus lockdown, were walking along the rail tracks seemingly to escape police awareness.
In Delhi, police distinguished nearly 100 migrants maintaining inside two trucks in an unhappy bid to reach home in Bihar, and arrested the drivers.
The trucks were stopped near Southeast Delhi’s Kalindi Kunj on Saturday night. One of the trucks had 63 settlers and the other was holding up 34, they said.
Then the truck was taking off to Lakhisarai and Madhubani districts, the police said.
The Mumbai-Agra highway enacting through Nashik in Maharashtra glimpsed a traffic jam first Sunday morning as hundreds of abandoned people attempted to give rise to their way back to their aboriginal regions in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Onlookers said people were either stored to the verge in personal vehicles or were seen heralding passing vehicles to fix rides. While several of those on the roads were not wearing masks, some were too near to each other in infringement of social distancing criteria.
Similar scenes, containing people stepping in groups and cycling, were also glimpsed on Nashik-Pune and Nashik-Aurangabad highways, they said.
Various videos of the action of migrants on these streets were circulated on social media as well.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal petitioned to all states to authorize the accomplishment of migrant different trains so that the stranded can reach home in the next three to four days.
The interest comes a day after Home Minister Amit Shah wrote to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to authorize such trains to operate.
“As per the directions of Hon’ble PM @NarendraModi Ji, Railways is completely geared up to run 300 Shramik Special trains every day at quick notice for the last six days.
“I dispute to all the states to give the approval to vacate and bring back their deserted migrants so that we can get all of them back to their homes in the next 3-4 days itself,” Goyal tweeted on Sunday.
Senior railway officials say the national transporter has an ability to run around 300 trains per day trucking around 20 lakh migrants in an utmost of five days.
However, they said, authorizations from states are not upcoming, particularly from states like West Bengal and Rajasthan, which till now have ratified the least number of such trains despite being a crucial source of the migrant population.
Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba also strived cooperation of the state governments in jogging special trains for transportation of migrant workers.
He was speaking during a video conference with chief secretaries and health secretaries of all-states and The union territories to review the status of COVID-19 administration.
Shah had on Saturday had indicted the West Bengal government of not enabling trains to transport evacuated migrants to their home, but the state denied the charge, saying 6,000 migrants had already refunded and 10 trains holding up more laborers would arrive soon.
At an online press conference, Congress ambassador Supriya Shrinate said that migrant laborers were hit the terrible by the pandemic as they were given only four-hour heed for the lockdown.
Rather of presiding over the predicament of migrant laborers, the government should bail them as they have been left with no intention but to walk hundreds of kilometers to return home, she said.
She said nearly 50 days into the coronavirus lockdown “we proceed to wake up to discern heart-wrenching visuals” of people without footwear and food walking to their homes.
Visuals of pregnant women, little children, people atop a welfares truck, those downtrodden to death while walking family on railway roads have been deeply worrying, she said.
“What is transpiring to our migrant laborers is perhaps the tremendous human disaster of our times,” Shrinate said.
The Railways said it has operated 366 ‘Shramik Special’ trains since May 1 and trucked home around four lakh migrants deserted in various parts of the country.
While 287 trains have already attained their destinations, 79 trains are in transit, they said.
Out of these 287 trains, 127 terminated in Uttar Pradesh, 87 in Bihar, 24 in Madhya Pradesh, 20 in Odisha, 16 in Jharkhand, four in Rajasthan, three in Maharashtra, two each in Telangana and West Bengal, and one each in Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, the administrators said.
These trains have shipped migrants to cities like Tiruchchirappalli, Titlagarh, Barauni, Khandwa, Jagannathpur, Khurda Road, Chhapra, Balia, Gaya, Purnia, Varanasi among others.
Every Shramik Special train has 24 coaches, each with a capacity of 72 seats.
However, only 54 people are authorized in a coach to maintain social distancing standards and the median jetty is not donated to any passenger.
Since the Shramik Special train service started, Gujarat has remained one of the top originating stations followed by Kerala.