1st ‘Special’ Train With Migrant Workers from Telangana Leaves for Jharkhand; Kerala, Other States to Follow Suit

1st ‘Special’ Train With Migrant Workers from Telangana Leaves for Jharkhand; Kerala, Other States to Follow Suit

New Delhi: Two days after the Centre gave the green signal to migrant workers, students and tourists stranded in different parts of the country due to the coronavirus lockdown to head to their destinations, a special train carrying about 1,200 labourers set off from Lingampalli in Telangana to Hatia in Jharkhand under a pilot project on the request of the southern state’s government.

Amid demands from several states to transport people by rail, sources aware of the developments told News18 that the Centre is mulling point-to-point trains.

The government has asked Railways to hand over a plan for running of trains as early as possible. According to the government, it’s an easier route to send back people compared to transporting them in buses, which is not only expensive but also runs the risk of multiplying infections.

The Telangana-Jharkhand train was started as a pilot project and any further trains shall be planned only as per the directions of Ministry of Railways and on request from both the originating and destination state governments.

All necessary precautions such as prior screening of passengers and maintaining social distancing at the station and in the train was followed. There were 54 labourers per coach and they were given sanitisers, masks and gloves. Food and water was arranged for the people and RPF personnel were on board to ensure rules were adhered to.

The plan is to quarantine the workers once they arrive at their destination so that a health check-up can be conducted. “We will review first train and then start others soon,” a Railway Ministry official said.

The first batch of workers sent back is from Sangareddy which was in the news recently when nearly 1,600 migrant labourers stranded in Telangana resorted to violence at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Hyderabad.

The incident occurred at the construction sites on IIT campus at Kandi in Sangareddy district when the migrant workers from different states began their protest, but were soon asked to join work. The labourers refused to resume work until they were paid wages for the last four months and were sent back to their homes.

Meanwhile, the first special train from Kerala carrying 1,200 migrant workers to Bhubaneswar in Odisha will leave from the Aluva railway station on Friday evening, state Minister VS Sunil Kumar said.

The workers from Odisha accommodated in camps in Ernakulam district since the lockdown will be brought to the station in state-run corporation buses as per the protocol announced by the government, he said.

Official sources said the train was scheduled for a 6pm departure.

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