Bengaluru, May 10 (IANS) The first special train to West Bengal from Karnataka left Bengaluru with 1,200 migrants to Bankura, said an official, here on Sunday.
“The special train (#06568) left Malur station on the city’s eastern outskirts at 2.10 p.m. with 1,200 passengers, including women and children, to Bankura,” a South Western Railway (SWR) zonal official told IANS. Bankura is around 210 km northwest of Kolkata.
Among the passengers were migrant workers, students, tourists and pilgrims. They had been stranded in Karnataka, especially in this tech city, for over 47 days due to the lockdown since March 25 and suspension of trains, buses and flights to contain Covid-19 spread.
“All the passengers were brought to the station, 45 km from the city centre, in special buses from their dwellings and relief camps to board the train under the police escort to avoid unregistered migrants and others crowding the place,” said the official.
The passengers were screened at the station with a thermal device and given a medical certificate, indicating they were free from coronavirus. Details of passengers, coach-wise with their address and mobile numbers, were also collected for contact tracing.
“Only 54 passengers were allowed in each coach to ensure physical distancing during the journey. Wearing mask and sanitizing hands were mandatory,” said the official.
Each passenger was given packed meals, 1 litre water bottle, cookies and buttermilk for the initial journey. The zonal railways will serve food en-route. The train will not stop at in-between stations.
A Railway Protection Force (RPF) team is escorting the special train.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has permitted stranded people, including migrant workers, students, tourists and pilgrims to return to their native place in other states in special trains since May 1.