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Karnataka govt allows trains for migrants after facing flak

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Bengaluru, May 07: The Karnataka government on Thursday decided to restart train services to ferry migrant labourers to their home states.

The government sent letters of request on Thursday to several states seeking their consent to operate trains for transportation of stranded migrant labourers, tourists, students, pilgrims and other persons.

Karnataka govt allows trains for migrants after facing flak

The decision came following outrage by political opposition, workers' organisations and internal assessment by the Home Department that labour unrest may go out of hand if trains are not restarted.

Shramik Trains: 115 run so far since May 1, over one lakh migrants ferried

Earlier, the Karnataka government had withdrawn its request to the railways to run special trains to ferry migrant labourers, hours after builders met Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa to apprise him of the problems the construction sector will face in case they left.

The railways is running Shramik Special trains to ferry to their home towns migrants who were stranded at their places of work during the lockdown. So far, it has run more than 115 such trains.

Several migrants in the city were desperate to return home as they were out of job and money.

The migrant labourers from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal had created a ruckus in the city on Monday demanding that they be sent home. They went on rampage and attacked police personnel too. After much efforts, the situation was brought under control.

On Tuesday, Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashoka met the migrant labourers at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre, where they have been accommodated. Most of the migrant labourers were afraid of staying here for the fear of getting COVID-19. Their another apprehension was that if any untoward happens to them or their family members they won't be able to go back to their home town. Shailesh, a painter from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh told PTI that all the money he had is exhausted now

Few migrant labourers stuck in the slums near Subramanyapura in the state capital said they are out of cash to purchase grocery items. Crammed in four small rooms in a suffocating atmosphere, the 14 labourers said arranging meals was a big challenge. "We are getting Khichri, but how long can one eat this alone," they said.

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