Punya Salila Srivastava, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Saturday said that over 2,600 Shramik Special trains have run till date and more than 35 lakh migrants have used these trains to reach their respective destinations. Srivastava said that as soon as COVID-19 hit India, the government got into action to help stranded migrant workers.
She said that states were also permitted to use funds under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for providing relief shelter, food, etc., to migrant workers.
"More than 2,600 special trains have run till date and more than 35 lakh migrants have availed the benefit of these trains.In an order on May 1, the inter-state movement of migrant workers was allowed by Shramik Special trains. In an order on May 19, revised SOP for the movement of migrant workers by trains was issued to further ease and speed the process," she said.
"On March 27, the MHA released an advisory to smoothen the movement of migrant workers and to provide them with shelters, food packets, food grains, essential items, Punya added.
According to her, the advisory issued on March 28-29 instructed that helpline numbers and locations of relief camps be widely publicised, and DC/DM and SP were made responsible for the enforcement of these orders.
She said that on April 3, over Rs 1,1092 crore financial assistance has been released for states and UTs. She further said that in an order on April 19, the intra-state movement of migrant workers allowed to workplaces and in an order dated April 29, the inter-state movement of migrant workers allowed by buses.
-With state government, railways appointed nodal officers, and hygiene and social distancing protocols were followed. Railways also ensured to run trains from any given railway station of the country as per the requirement.
-Only 4000 passengers travelled on the first day. On 20 May, the highest number of trains (279) ran and 4 lakh people were ferried. 10 lakh people travelled within states. In total, over 35 lakh people have travelled so far via trains.
-People from UP and Bihar constitute 80% of the passengers.
-All arrangements to ferry the laborers are done till they reach their destinations and these Shramik trains will last till all labourers reach their homes
-Form 1 June, 200 trains will commence operation. Divisional HQs have been instructed to be ready for running more trains.
-5000 COVID coaches and 80,000 beds prepared by the railways. Since 1 month, 4.7 million free meals distributed to the needy people
-85% expenses of Shramik Trains have been given by Centre and 15% shelled by the states as rent. States had reimbursed the travel fares of people in some instances.
-Unreserved rail journey has been completely stopped. People will have to travel only by reserved seats.
(With Inputs from ANI)
(Image credits: PTI)