Over 35 lakh migrants ferried in 2,600 Shramik trains; 80% trains to UP, Bihar
New Delhi, May 23: The central government on Saturday said more than 2,600 special trains have run till date and more than 35 lakh migrants have availed the benefits of these trains in order to return home during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav said 80% of the train journeys have been undertaken by migrant labourers of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
"Shramik Special trains were started on May 1. Free meals and drinking water are being provided to all passengers. Social distancing and hygiene protocols are being followed in trains and stations," added Yadav.
Joint Secretary in the Union Home Ministry, Punya Salila Srivastava, said the railways have engaged over 2,600 'Shramik' special trains since May 1 for transportation of the migrant workers from different parts of the country to their destinations.
"According to the last census report, there are four crore migrant workers in the country," she said at a press conference here. Elaborating on the steps taken by the central government for the convenience of migrant workers since March 25, when the nationwide lockdown began, Srivastava said 35 lakh migrant workers have reached their destinations using 'Shramik' special trains, while 40 lakh have travelled in buses to reach their destinations.
The Railways has drawn up a schedule to operate 2,600 Shramik Special trains over the next 10 days across the country to ferry around 36 lakh migrant workers, stranded due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
"We have operated 260 Shramik Special trains every day on an average for the last four days, carrying three lakh passengers daily. In next 10 days, 2,600 Shramik Special trains will carry 36 lakh migrants. We can also run trains within states, around 10-12 lakh can travel on them," Yadav said.
To a question on fares of the special trains to be operated from June 1, he said the railways was charging pre-lockdown normal fares only. He reiterated that 85 per cent of the expense of Shramik Special trains is being borne by the Centre and the states are only paying 15 per cent in the form of fares.