Bengaluru, May 8 : Four special trains left Bengaluru for Bihar and Uttar Pradesh with 1,200 migrant workers and others in each, a day after the Karnataka government decided to allow many of the stranded to return to their native states, an official said on Friday.
“Of the four Shramik specials, two left Chikbanavar station for Lucknow and one each to Danapur and Hatia in Bihar from Malur station as per the government’s guidelines,” South Western Railway Divisional Manager A.K. Verma told IANS here.
Besides migrants, an unspecified number of students, tourists and pilgrims, who too were stranded in the city or the state, also boarded the special trains, as they were equally desperate to go back to their states at any cost in the absence of alternative transport since the lockdown began on March 25 and was extended twice.
“All the standard operating procedures mandated by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs have been followed in sending about 9,600 migrants as their counterparts were sent in the 8 special trains we operated from May 3-5,” Verma said.
As the news about the resumption of special trains to other regions spread on Thursday, thousands of migrant workers rushed to hundreds of local police stations across the state for giving their name, with mobile number, Aadhar number and other details, as most of them did not know how to register on the state’s dedicated ‘Seva Sindu’ portal for booking their seat in the next train.
Though the Central government allowed the states to allow the migrants to return to their native place by special trains that operate point-to-point since May 1, the state government suspended the trains since Wednesday, ostensibly, to retain as many of the workers, as they were needed to revive the Covid-battered economy and complete infrastructure projects and construction works across the state that were held up due to the prolonged lockdown.
“As per the schedule the state government has drawn in consultation with the receiving states, we have readied 96-100 special trains of 24 coaches to ferry over a lakh migrants over the next 7-8 days till May 15 from Bengaluru to 9 states,” added Verma.
The special trains will leave Bengaluru only after other states confirm making arrangements to receive their migrants, thermal screen and quarantine them for 14 days before they can go to their home town or village.