Railway ministry on Saturday said that it will ferry 36 lakh stranded passengers in 2600 Shramik Special trains across the country in the next ten days.
Addressing the media, railway board chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav said that the ministry has been constantly coordinating with the state governments so that migrant workers can reach home at the earliest.
“I assure all migrant workers that Indian Railways will continue to offer Shramik trains till there is a requirement. We will help everyone reach their home state at the earliest," Yadav said.
Special trains carrying migrant workers were flagged off from various cities on 1 May for the first time since the lockdown was enforced on 25 March. The special trains are ferrying stranded migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists and students. These trains are only for people identified and registered by state governments, and are not open to the general public. Railways and the state governments have appointed senior officials as nodal officers for coordination and smooth operation of these special trains.
Indian Railways has run 2,600 Shramik Special trains in the last 23 days. Around 36 lakhs stranded migrants have been transported till now to their home states, Yadav said, adding that in the last few days, more than 200 such trains have been run by the railways on a daily basis. As many as 255 trains were run on May 22, he said.
Most of the workers have travelled to states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand.
Besides these Shramik Specials, railway ministry has also started 30 special air-conditioned (AC) trains pairs from 12 May and will operationalise 200 train services from 1 June. These 200 trains comprise AC and non-AC coaches and will kick start next week in an attempt to restore economic activity, Yadav said.
Going ahead, railways will offer more trains. “We are monitoring the reservations (of these 200 trains) and are analysing the pattern on a daily basis. Wherever possible, we will add more trains," he said.
Currently, 17 lakh passengers have booked tickets. However, in some trains, only 30% of the berths are booked, while in others bookings are close to 90-100%.
“100% booking has been done in eight-ten trains. In other trains only 30% bookings have been done," Yadav explained.