As India's Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases rise beyond 1.25 lakh, Railway Board chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav, on Saturday, revealed that 45 lakh people had travelled via trains since March 25 when PM Modi announced the nation-wide lockdown. He added that in the coming 10 days, Railways has scheduled 2600 trains via which 36 lakh people will travel. Currently, India is its fourth phase of lockdown till May 31 as COVID-19 cases stand at 1,25,101 with 51784 recoveries and 3720 fatalities.
Mumbai local trains resume services for essential railway employees after 2-month hiatus
Railway briefing (Chairman, Railway Board) highlights:
- With state govt, railways appointed nodal officers, and hygiene and social distancing protocols were followed. Railways also ensured that to run trains from any given railway station of the country as per the requirement.
- Only 4000 passengers travelled during the first day. On 20 May highest 279 trains ran and 4 lakh people ferried. More than 26 lakh people have traveled. 10 lakh people traveled within the states. In total 45 lakh people have traveled so far via trains.
- People from UP and Bihar constitute for 80% of the passengers.
- Railways and Govt of India have prepared a schedule for the coming 10 days. 2,600 trains scheduled and approximately 36 lakh people will travel by this.
- 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
- Shramik Trains expenses 85% given by Centre and 15% shelled by the states as rent. States had reimbursed the expenses of travelling of people in some instances.
- Unreserved rail journey has been completely stopped. People will have to travel only by reserved seats and only as per the berths.
Cyclone Amphan: West Bengal asks Railway Board to not send Shramik trains till May 26
Railways-West Bengal tussle
While West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has requested Railways that they do not send any Shramik trains till May 26 as restoration work after Cyclone Amphan is underway, Railway Board Chairman said, " Cyclone was a natural calamity. West Bengal Chief Secy wrote to me that restoration work is underway & they'll tell us soon when they'll be able to receive the trains. As soon as they give us clearance, we'll run the trains to West Bengal".
Commenting on Bengal's reluctance to run more Sharmik tarins, he added," Shramik specials were run after the consensus of all states. We have been given a specific number of trains which need to be run in Bengal and that too the trains should be run in a specific time frame." While Mamata Banerjee has claimed that the government has allowed an additional 105 trains to be arrive in Bengal, Union railways minister Piyush Goyal has claimed that only 27 trains have arrived till date.
Rly ferries around 32 lakh migrants in 2,570 Shramik Special trains since May 1
Railways eases Shramik train rules
The Centre has issued a new order empowering the Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Home Affairs to decide on the movement of Shramik trains. According to the revised Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), the consent of receiving states is no longer necessary. This move was reportedly necessitated after several states blamed each other for not accepting Shramik train requests.
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