Around 500,000 left Maharashtra in special trains since April 1
More than 500,000 people, mostly migrant workers, have left Maharashtra in special summer trains operated by Central and Western Railways since April 1. The two zonal railways operated over 330 special trains between April 1 and April 20.
Majority of the special trains are being operated towards North and North-east India, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam and West Bengal. Of the 500,000, about 300,000 were from Mumbai.
“I had stayed back while my friends left when the lockdown was announced. However, I left for my hometown in Uttar Pradesh. I will return only when the situation becomes normal. I left by train as train tickets were available, unlike 2020,” said Noor Alam, a sales boy working in a garment shop in Kurla.
The railways are presently permitting passengers to travel only if they have confirmed tickets. Railway officials say they would continue to release special trains whenever there is high demand, which is a standard practice during the holiday season.
“Apart from running regular specials we are running summer specials for North and East India. So far, we have run more than 330 summer specials in April this year from various stations of Central Railway and carried more than 500,000 passengers. Additional specials are being planned as per requirement,” said Shivaji Sutar, chief public relations officer, Central Railway.
There is also a significant number of migrants coming to Mumbai from rural parts of Maharashtra, but currently the services to destinations within the state are suspended due to low occupancy and restriction on travel within Maharashtra. Inter-city trains including Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT)-Pune, CSMT-Manmad, Pune-Nagpur and CSMT-Latur railway stations have been suspended.
Under its Break The Chain lockdown measures, the Maharashtra government has restricted inter-city and inter-district travel until absolutely urgent.
For the city, no travel by public or private transport will be allowed unless for essential services, medical reasons and vaccination. Passengers requiring medical treatments or the specially-abled along with one person to accompany; central, state and local government personnel; and medical staff including doctors, paramedics, lab technicians, hospital and medical clinic staff are allowed to travel by local trains.