The screening of migrants who will be ferried back to their native towns in special trains will be done by Railways and meals will be provided for long-distance passengers, the Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi informed on Friday. In a major development on Friday, the Ministry of Home Affairs has allowed special trains to be operated by the Ministry of Railways for movement of stranded migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists and students.
This comes after several Chief Ministers had urged the Home Ministry to ply special trains to facilitate the movement of migrants considering the long-distance and a large number of individuals stranded. The Home Ministry had permitted inter-state movement of stranded persons amid the lockdown on Wednesday.
Speaking to Republic TV, Suresh Angadi said, "The screening of travellers will be done by Railways and meals will be provided for long-distance passengers. Yesterday, Karnataka requested me for such a facility and many other States are asking for the same too. The States should follow the guidelines laid out by the Home Ministry."
He further stated that concerned States should take responsibility and make arrangements for such migrants. "Both the States, sending migrants and receiving them, must share the details with the Nodal Officers appointed. Then, it'll be easy to reach their destination," Angadi said.
The Minister also said that the Railways will ensure sanitisation and maintenance of hygiene in trains and stations. Railway staff will be asked to wear masks all the time and the same will be mandatory for passengers. Suresh Angadi added that the Railway Board will come out with detailed guidelines as per the Home Ministry's orders.
In the notice issued by the Home Ministry on Friday, it has stated that the Ministry of Railways will designate nodal officers for coordinating with states and Union Territories for the movement of stranded persons. It has also informed that the MoR will issue detailed guidelines for sale of tickets, and for social distancing and other measures to be observed at train stations, train platforms and within the trains.
These special trains will be 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”.
As per MHA guidelines, it has been decided to run "Shramik Special" trains from International Workers' Day on May 1.