Bengaluru, May 10 (IANS) Special trains to six northern and eastern states, including Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal left Bengaluru, carrying 6,860 migrant passengers to their native place amid extended lockdown, an official said on Sunday.
“Of the six specials that departed from the city throughout the day, 4 were operated for the first time to states like J&K, Madhya Pradesh, Triupra and West Bengal, with students, migrant workers, tourists, pilgrims and others who were stranded in the southern state over the last 47 days due to the lockdown,” a South Western Railway (SWR) zone official told IANS.
The special to Udhampur in J&K left from Chikabanavar station in the city’s eastern suburb at 12:30 p.m. with 985 students, 90 minutes behind schedule due to operational reasons, followed by another to Bankura in West Bengal from Malur station on the city’s outskirts, at 2:10 p.m. with 1,247 migrants, including women and children.
The third train to Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh left Chikabanavar at 4:05 p.m. with 1,068 passengers; fourth to Danapur in Bihar from Malur at 4:55 p.m. with 1,200 migrants; fifth to Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh from Chikabanavar at 5:55 p.m. with 1,200 passengers and sixth to Agarthala in Tripura from Chikabanavar at 7:55 p.m. with 1,160 migrants.
“All the passengers were taken in batches to the two stations in special buses from their dwellings and relief camps to board the trains under police escort to avoid unregistered migrants and others crowding the places,” 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 train has 22-24 coaches, including sleeper and general class.
All passengers were 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 in-between stations.
A Railway Protection Force (RPF) team is escorting the special train.
The Union Home Ministry has permitted stranded people, including migrant workers, students, tourists and pilgrims, to return to their native places in other states in special trains since May 1.