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COVID-19: Union Minister urges Piyush Goyal to relaunch Shramik Special trains from Odisha

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Bhubaneswar, Sep 08: Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has written to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, seeking his intervention to relaunch the now-suspended services of Shramik Special trains from Odisha to other states to facilitate return of migrant workers to their places of work.

Piyush Goyal

In a letter to Goyal, the petroleum and steel minister said he has received many representations from migrant labourers in the state, seeking resumption of such special train services to Gujarat, Maharashtra and other states.

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"As you would be aware, there was a mass exodus of migrant workers from states like Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra to Odisha in the wake of nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. With the efforts of the Railway Ministry, thousands of workers across the country could reach their home towns by Shramik Special trains and the same was appreciated widely," Pradhan said.

"There is a need to resume train services for migrant workers so that they can go back to their workplaces," he said, adding that these labourers have expressed their plight due to unavailability of jobs.

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"I am informed that even though some employers are willing to offer bus transport service from Odisha, due to the prevailing monsoon conditions, a long and arduous journey via road is neither feasible nor safe," Pradhan said in his letter.

"I request your intervention for restarting of Shramik Express Trains from Odisha to states like Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra at the earliest," he added.

Pradhan's letter came after eight migrant workers, who were on their way from Odisha's Ganjam to Surat in Gujarat, were killed and several injured when the bus carrying them met with an accident in Chhattisgarh last week.

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