Fifty-eight lakh migrant workers stranded across the country have been ferried to their native places amid the Covid-19 lockdown, Vinod Kumar Yadav, Chairman Railway Board told reporters on Saturday.
Indian Railways has conducted the operation by running 4,286 Shramik special trains till now, Yadav said.
He also said that the demand for these trains has been on a decline. “The demand for these trains has decreased from 250 to about 137 per day. We operated 56 trains in the last 2 days,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the central government in an affidavit has stated that the migrant workers have been provided with food, drinking water, medicines, clothes, slippers and other essentials free of cost, depending upon the requirements. In the affidavit, the Centre stated that, along with the support of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), migrant workers who were found walking on roads were provided with transportation to the nearest railway stations.
Indian Railways suspended operations amid the coronavirus lockdown in March, soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the first phase of the lockdown on March 25. Shramik Special trains were started from May 1 in Centre’s bid to ferry stranded migrant workers to their native states during amid the Covid-19 lockdown.
On May 12, 30 passenger trains to and from the national capital were also pressed into service followed by another 200 interstate passenger trains that were started from June 1 in Centre’s plan to resume rail services across the country in a staggered manner amid the coronavirus crisis.