Delhi govt asks Centre for 262 more trains to send over 400,000 back home
The Capital has kick-started a major repatriation exercise for stranded migrant workers, students, pilgrims, tourists and others.Updated: May 21, 2020 02:28 IST
The Capital has kick-started a major repatriation exercise for stranded migrant workers, students, pilgrims, tourists and others. While around 87,600 individuals left the city in 73 special trains and around as many busesbetween May 7 and Wednesday, nearly 410,000 individuals are still waiting to go home, government records showed.
“Currently, there are 410,000 applicants from states that include Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha and Tamil Nadu. Around 380,700 of them are from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh,” an advisor at the Delhi chief minister’s office (CMO) said,asking not to be identified.
“We have urged the Central government to allot us 262 trains in four days to expedite the repatriation. We have sent them details. Today, 25 Shramik Special Trains left Delhi with around 37,500 migrants for different parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar,” deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said.
A spokesperson for the railways ministry declined to comment on the status of the application for the 262 trains sent by the Delhi government, which is routed through the Union home ministry. However, a senior railways official said that details about such a request could not be shared because people might start thronging railway stations in the hope of being able to get transport back home.
On April 29, the Union home ministry issued guidelines for the interstate movement of stranded individuals, following which the Delhi government distributed forms in its 400-odd centres, where around 20,000 stranded migrant workers had taken shelter since March 25 when the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19 was implemented. “Most of them have left Delhi by now,” a government official said.
On May 7, the first Shramik Special Train left Delhi for Chhatarpur in Madhya Pradesh with 1,050 passengers—all of them were lodged in several government centres, officials said.
By then, the Delhi government had also set up a website through which stranded individuals, who had not taken shelters in the government-run centres, and instead stayed in factories, construction sites or shared rooms with other labourers in the vicinity of industrial areas, could apply for repatriation.
Till Wednesday evening, as many as 73 Shramik Special trains have left Delhi, with the highest number heading to Uttar Pradesh (34), followed by Bihar (27), Madhya Pradesh (three), Jammu & Kashmir (two), Jharkhand (two), and Chhattisgarh (one), Karnataka (one), Kerala (one), Maharashtra (one) and West Bengal (one), data shared by Northern Railways showed.
Interestingly, some of the longest journeys were arranged through buses—three buses for Assam (2,050km), one each for Manipur (2,400km) and Arunachal Pradesh (2,550km). “In these cases, the buses were arranged by the governments or NGOs in the respective home states. The number of applicants from these states is also relatively low,” the government official quoted earlier said.
Buses have also left for Ladakh, Haryana and Punjab, government records showed.
According to government officials, all passengers are screened before boarding buses which take them to the railway station from the screening centres.
The consent of destination states is not required for running Shramik Special Trains to ferry migrant workers, the ministry of railways said Tuesday, revising its earlier order wherein it was mandatory for both states to mutually agree to run the trains. This comes after the home ministry issued a fresh set of guidelines to run the Shramik Special Trains.