With a surge in Covid-19 cases in Gujarat and Maharashtra, and imposition of stricter curfew or other regulations showing a possible out flux of migrant workers, the Western Railways announced that it will introduce 14 summer special trains to UP, Bihar and Assam.
As per a statement released by Sumit Thakur, chief public relations officer (CPRO) of Western Railways, extra coaches are also being added to the existing trains to cope with the rush.
As per Western Railways (WR) General Manager, Alok Kansal, presently WR is running 266 long distance trains from Gujarat and Maharashtra which are part of the total 310 long distance trains which were being operated before the Covid-19 period. Further, 30 pairs of festival special trains were introduced in January 2021 which have now been extended upto June 2021. Moreover, 14 summer special trains have been identified for various destinations, especially for Patna and Bhagalpur in Bihar, Gorakhpur and Ghazipur in UP and Guwahati in Assam and will be introduced in the next few days.
Similarly, the waiting list of trains is monitored daily and additional coaches are attached to existing trains with substantial Waitlisted passengers to clear the rush. In the month of March alone, WR temporarily augmented more than 575 coaches in 42 trains to clear the extra rush,” read a statement from the office of Thakur.
The Indian Express had recently reported on how migrant workers in Surat and Ahmedabad are planning to go back to their home states as Covid-19 cases continue to surge in Gujarat. Currently, a total of 20 special trains to UP, Bihar and Odisha are available from Ahmedabad and Gandhidham railway stations in Gujarat, informed the railway officials.
The Western Railways have also decided to cancel issuing platform tickets at all railway stations in Gujarat and Maharashtra till April 30.
“Only confirmed passengers will be allowed to enter the platform premises as the platform tickets are not being issued following the Covid-19 protocols. At some stations, it has been noticed that long-distance train passengers are gathering at stations in advance to avoid the curfew timings imposed by the Municipal / State authorities. Ticket checking has been intensified to curb unauthorised passengers. In March, Rs. 2.75 crore were realised as fine in this regard,” read a statement from the WR.