“Two Shramik specials left Chikbanavar station in the eastern suburb this afternoon and evening for Lucknow. The third left Malur station on the city’s eastern outskirts in the evening for Darbhanga, carrying migrant workers, students, tourists and pilgrims,” Bengaluru Railway Division official C. Narendra said in a statement here.
About 1,200 passengers travelled in each train, having 24 coaches, including 18 sleeper class, 4 general class and two sleeper-cum-break vans.
Thousands of natives from other states were left stranded in cities and towns of Karnataka, a majority in this tech city, after a nationwide lockdown was enforced from March 24 midnight.
“The South Western Railway (SWR) zone has operated 15 specials since May 3, including 4 on Friday when the service was resumed after 2-day suspension on Wednesday and Thursday,” recalled Narendra.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) permitted the stranded people to return to their native place in other states in special trains.
“As per the standard operating procedure, only 54 passengers were allowed in each coach to ensure physical distancing during the journey. Wearing mask and sanitizing hands were mandatory,” asserted Narendra.
The passengers, who registered at area police stations or in the ‘Seva Sindu’ portal of the state government to enable to board the trains, underwent thermal screening and given medical certificates accordingly.
Details of passengers coach-wise, along with their addresses and mobile numbers, were also collected for contact tracing.
The state government brought the passengers to the twin stations from their relief camps in buses of the state-run public transport service under escort.
Local non-government organizations distributed food packets, biscuits, fruits and water to all passengers for the journey.
The zonal railways will serve food to the passengers during the journey, since the train is from point to point with no stop en route.
The Railway Protection Force teams are escorting the trains.
The special trains leave Bengaluru only after other states confirm about arrangements made to receive the migrants, thermal screening and quarantine for 14 days before they can go to their respective home towns or villages.