Two days ago, MHA allowed migrant labourers, students, pilgrims or tourists with no COVID-19 symptoms to return to their home states. For this reason, the centre said special trains will run amid the nationwide lockdown. Addressing a press conference, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that people who are allowed to move can now be transported using trains.
The Ministry of Railways (MoR) will operate these special trains. The MoR will designate nodal officers for coordinating with the states and Union territories for their movement, she added. Additionally, she said, “The MoR will issue detailed guidelines for sale of tickets, and for social distancing; and other safety measures to be observed at train stations, platforms and within the trains.”
Meanwhile, the first “special train” to transport migrants stranded by the lockdown left Telangana for Jharkhand at around 4:30 this morning. The train carried 1,200 people from Lingampally in the southern state to Jharkhand’s Hatia district. The 24-coach train, which usually seats 72 people in a compartment; contained only 54 people in each to follow physical distancing guidelines. All passengers before being allowed to board were screened for symptoms. Another special train will leave from the Aluva railway station, Kerala in the evening of May 1, 2020. State Minister V S Sunil Kumar affirmed. The train from Kerala will carry 1,200 migrant workers to Bhubaneswar in Odisha.