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Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

In a recent guideline issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, it has been decided to run “Shramik Special” trains from Labour Day today. These special trains will run to carry migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places across the country due to COVID-19 lockdown.

These special trains will run from point to point on the request of both the concerned State Governments as per the standard protocols for sending and receiving such stranded persons. The Railways and State Governments shall appoint senior officials as Nodal Officers for coordination and smooth operation of these “Shramik Specials”.

The passengers have to be screened by the sending states and only those found asymptomatic would be allowed to travel. Sending State Governments will have to bring these persons in batches that can be accommodated in the train to the designated Railway Station in sanitized buses following social distancing norms and other precautions. It will be mandatory for every passenger to wear face cover. Meals and drinking water would be provided to the passengers by the sending states at the originating station.

The Railways will endeavour to ensure social distancing norms and hygiene with the cooperation of passengers. On longer routes, the Railways will provide a meal enroute during the journey.

On arrival at the destination, passengers will be received by the State Government, who would make all arrangements for their screening, quarantine if necessary and further travel from the Railway Station.

At this point of time of crisis faced by the nation, all officers and staff of the Indian Railways are committed to serving our fellow Indians and seeks everyone’s support and cooperation.

Meanwhile, the Railways this morning ran its first special train to ferry 1,200 stranded migrants from Lingampally in Telangana to Hatia in Jharkhand. A special train carrying over 1,000 Odia migrants also left for Odisha from Aluva railway station in Kerala in the evening reportedly at around 4 pm. The migrants were stranded in Kochi region of Kerala after enforcement of the nation-wide lockdown in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.

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