Amid the extended lockdown, a scuffle broke out between the police and migrant workers on Monday in Gujarat's Surat. The migrants allegedly demanded that they should be sent back to their native places immediately. The crowd gathered in the Kardodara area of Surat was so huge in numbers that the police had to resort to the use of tear gas to disperse them.
This comes despite the Centre's order permitting intra-state movement of stranded persons and migrants to return back to their native places. The Railways has also started special 'Sharmik trains' to facilitate their return. However, no injuries have been reported yet as a result of the clash. The police have also stated that the situation is under control. This is the fourth such incident in the city of Surat where migrants have gathered in numbers demanding their return to native places.
It has been reported that around 21,000 migrants have travelled back from Ahmedabad and Surat in 18 trains arranged by the government in the past three days. However, since the state houses a vast number of migrants from Odisha, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and other states, a massive number of migrants still remain stranded.
In a major development on Friday, the Ministry of Home Affairs has allowed special trains to be operated by the Ministry of Railways (MoR) for movement of stranded migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists and students.
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.
The passengers have to be screened by the sending states and only those found asymptomatic would be allowed to travel. The State Governments will be responsible for transporting the stranded persons in batches that can be accommodated in the train to the designated railway station in sanitised buses following social distancing norms and other precautions. It will be mandatory for every passenger to cover their faces. Meals and drinking water would be provided to the passengers by the sending states at the originating station.