The first train carrying around 1,000 migrant workers set off from Telangana’s Lingampally for Hatia in Jharkhand.
The decision was taken at a late night meeting of the Home and Railway ministries on Thursday. More such trains are being planned, sources tell OneIndia, but as of now, it is being maintained that it is an one-off affair. The source, however, said that more trains shall be planned only as per the directions of the Ministry of Railways. The decision would be taken based on the request by both the destination and originating state governments.
There has been a lot of pressure from the states to allow special trains to carry migrant workers.
The Union Home Secretary, Ajay Bhalla in his order earlier this week permitted states to take back stranded migrant labourers, students, tourists and pilgrims. However, the order made it clear that the states shall only use buses as mode of transport. The order also says that the stranded persons shall be brought back only by road.
The states have been complaining that it would be a humongous task to bring back stranded persons by using only buses. The states are now urging the Ministry of Home Affairs to tweak its order so as tot allow trains to ferry back stranded persons.
Further ferrying those stranded by road is an expensive option and would require a lot of work for the state administration, which is already stressed due to the COVID-19 situation. Take for instance the case of Karnataka. The state will arrange transport for all the migrant labourers who want to return. The cost is estimated at Rs 10,000 per day for 25 people per bus. The requirement for every one lakh people is 4,000 buses and this would mean it would cost around Rs 4 crore for one lakh. If all workers wish to return, then the cost would be around Rs 8 crore. Karnataka has around 2 lakh migrant workers.Dailyhunt