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Consent of states for migrant trains not needed: Railways

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New Delhi, May 19: In its fresh set of guidelines for movement of stranded labourers, the Ministry of Railways said the "movement of shramik trains shall be permitted by Ministry of Railways in consultation with Ministry of Home Affairs".

The move comes after a political slugfest between the centre and the states over the movement of migrant workers on the Shramik Special trains.

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"Consent of terminating state is not necessary to run Shramik special trains," railway spokesperson Rajesh Bajpai said. The consent of receiving state shall be obtained by originating state, and a copy provided to Railways before departure of train.

Bajpai further said, "After the new SoP, the implication is that no consent of the receiving state is mandatory".

States should take more steps to mitigate migrant distress says MHA

The move is likely to create a new flashpoint over running Shramik special trains. The ministry is also expected to ensure more halts of the special trains for the convenience of migrant workers.

Earlier, the home ministry had sought more proactive coordination between the states and the Ministry of Railways on the issue of special trains.

For routes, where the migrants are known to be already travelling on foot, arrangements could be made by the states, which are en route, for designated rest places, taking into account the requirement of sanitisation, food and health, Union Home Secretary, Ajay Bhalla said in a letter to the Chief Secretaries.

District authorities may guide workers moving on foot to be designated rest place nearby bus terminals or railway stations by arranging transportation, the MHA has also said.

Further, the states have been asked to enlist the migrants with their addresses and contact numbers as this would be helpful in contact tracing in due course. The states have also been advised to involve NGOs at rest places.

Over the last few weeks, the centre has alleged that some states like West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan which have a significant migrant population in other states were not giving permission for the migrant trains resulting in lakhs of them walking towards their homes hundreds of kilometres away. While the states have denied the allegations, data has shown otherwise.

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