Coronavirus outbreak: Migrants on 'Ram bharose' journey as Indian Railways re-routes trains

Updated: May 24, 2020, 07:53 IST | Agencies | Mumbai

Officials informed that railway zones had been instructed to arrange for the crew and guard immediately

Migrants, maintaining social distancing, stand in a queue after deboarding a Shramik Special train at Danapur station to reach their homes in Patna. Pic/PTI
Migrants, maintaining social distancing, stand in a queue after deboarding a Shramik Special train at Danapur station to reach their homes in Patna. Pic/PTI

The woes of thousands of migrants returning to their home states seemed to multiply as the Indian Railways abruptly changed the routes of several special trains which left Maharashtra and Gujarat in the past couple of days, according to sources on Saturday.

At least 13 trains which left the two neighbouring states for Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the past couple of days, have now been yanked off their planned routes and re-routed for their destinations, shocking the travelling passengers.

These include special trains which have left or are scheduled to depart from Konkan Railway, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Thane, Vasai Road, Panvel, Kalyan, Pune, Nashik, Manmad, Akola, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Jalna, Bhusawal, Jalgaon (Maharashtra), besides Gujarat's Surat, Udhna, Valsad and Ankleshwar.

The new route is via Bilaspur-Jharsuguda-Rourkela for the final destinations in UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, etc, said the sources.

Confirming the developments, Western Railway Chief Spokesperson Ravindar Bhakar said that the original planned route was via Itarsi-Manikpur-Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyay Jn.

There is heavy traffic in this sector and since the past couple of days, it is highly congested. Trains are getting delayed by many hours. Hence, an alternative route has been designed for quicker movement of the special trains," Bhakar said.

Indian Railways officials informed that the various railway zones have been instructed to take note of the route diversification and arrange for the crew and guard immediately.

2,600 trains in 10 days
The Indian Railways has operated over 2,600 Shramik Specials and transported over 36 lakh people across the country operating interstate and within the state since May 1 and plans to operate 2,600 more trains in the next 10 days, said Chairman Railway Board VK Yadav.

He said after the decision of operating the Shramik Special trains, the national transporter on May 1—the first day of the services—operated four trains and transported over 4,000 people. "In the last four days we have been running over 260 trains per day and transporting over four lakh people on a daily basis," said Yadav.

Meanwhile in just 24 hours, India added 6,654 positive cases, Health Ministry data showed on Saturday. It is 566 cases more in a single day than it reported on Friday. With this, the total tally went pass the 1.25 lakh-mark. Before the first week of the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown ended, cases continually breached the highest record every day in the last four days.

'Spraying disinfectant crime'
A day after the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) sprayed disinfectant on workers in Lajpat Nagar, Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), on Saturday, deemed it a "criminal act".

In a video on social media, the migrants can be seen waiting in queues for medical screening outside a school in Lajpat Nagar, ahead of boarding a Shramik Special train, on Friday. They were sprayed with disinfectant by SDMC workers during a sanitisation drive.

In a tweet, the AAP said the BJP had been consistently misbehaving with the poor workers during the COVID-19 crisis. "The BJP-ruled MCD's behaviour with workers is bound to raise questions that the BJP doesn't consider the poor workers as human beings," the AAP said.

Worker hangs self in UP
A home quarantined migrant labourer, who returned from Maharashtra, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself on Friday in Musiwan village in the Kamasin police station area of Banda district in Uttar Pradesh.

Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Lal Bharat Kumar Pal said, "Migrant labourer [Sunil, 19], who returned to his Musiwian village from Maharashtra, committed suicide by hanging himself with an iron bar in the unfinished house in the early hours of Friday."

High alert in Raj
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot has directed respective district collectors to ensure adequate arrangement for well-maintained quarantine centres as five airports—Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, and Udaipur—are expected to receive passengers from different parts of the world.

Additionally, quarantine centres have also been arranged in Alwar, looking at its proximity to Delhi.

IAS Subodh Agarwal, ACS Industries & MSME and Head, State Level Committee for Interstate Migration, said, "Rajasthan government had undertaken all necessary steps to ensure smooth and convenient screening, testing and exit movement for people. All travellers were sent to the institutional quarantine for 14 days. All of them were given masks, sanitisers, and snacks with a welcome note by key officials at the Jaipur airport."

GoM discuss economic situation

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh chaired a Group of Ministers (GoM) meeting in Delhi to discuss execution of the government's R20 lakh crore relief package for the Coronavirus-hit Indian economy. Home Minister Amit Shah also attended the meet.

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