Western Railway (WR) on Sunday appealed to all migrant workers to avoid walking or staying for rest on railway tracks keeping in mind their personal safety. In a release, the Western Railway asked "all interested" migrant workers to contact the nearest district authorities to apply to board a Shramik Special train so that they can be sent to the places of their choice.
"Western Railway appeals to all migrants to have patience and not walk or stay for rest on railway tracks, as it is extremely dangerous and strictly prohibited under the Railways Act. All interested migrant workers may contact the nearest district authorities to apply to board a Shramik Special train, so that they may be sent to the places of their choice," the WR said in a release.
"Although regular passenger train services remain suspended due to lockdown, goods trains and parcel special trains continue to run to maintain the supply of essential commodities across the country. Apart from freight trains, Shramik Special trains have also been introduced for stranded migrants, and many such trains are being operated over the Western Railway jurisdiction along with other zonal railways," WR said.
"So far up to May 10, 2020, a total of 191 Shramik Special trains have already been operated by Western Railway, and these are to be continued further. Through these 191 Shramik Special trains, more than 2.25 lakh migrants have travelled to their desired destinations," it added.
Sixteen migrant workers sleeping on rail tracks while returning to Madhya Pradesh were crushed to death by a goods train in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra in the early hours of Friday.
The labourers, rendered jobless due to the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, had set off for their homes on foot along the rail tracks apparently to escape police attention.
However, shortly after the release, the Railways on Sunday said 15 air-conditioned special trains will operate from May 12 in a gradual resumption of passenger services. The announcement came on the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's video conference with Chief ministers that is expected to focus on a strategy for a phased exit from the shutdown.
(With agency inputs)