According to Yadav, in the last week itself on an average as many as 3 lakh migrants have been transporetd through trains on a daily basis.
Shramik special trains: Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways has stated that it is ready to run Shramik special trains as per the demands of the originating state. “Indian Railways is ready to run Shramik special trains on demand, we need only a day’s time after the state raises the demand. The demand for trains from originating states has gone down,” VK Yadav, Chairman Railway Board said while addressing a press conference. “We are also running MEMUs and DEMUs in states like Bihar and UP for intra-state movement for the convenience of migrants arriving in these states,” Yadav said.
According to Yadav, in the last week itself on an average as many as 3 lakh migrants have been transporetd through trains on a daily basis. “From May 1 to May 28, we have run 3,840 Shramik special trains moving as many as 52 lakh passengers,” Yadav said.
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According to the Railway Board, some of the special features of Shramik Movement include health and screening protocols, meals for passengers including, breakfast, lunch, dinner (the meals are being served at en-route stations and not on board), food and water provided by the state governments at starting stations, meals and water arranged by IRCTC and Railway Divisions for Shramiks in trains en route, distribution of more than 85 lakh meals and 1.25 crore water bottles for free. Also, the Railway Board stated that NGOs supplemented efforts as well as local halwais, bakeries were mobilized by Railway Divisions at various stations to prepare snacks and foods for Shramik passengers.
Also, due to the current COVID-19 crisis, there has been uncertainty in demand. As per railway capacity, it was not a 24 hour steady flow, the board stated. The originations of Shramik Special trains took place after completing all the local protocols by the state mostly in post noon 16-24 shift. Thus, this left one third route capacity per day to handle these trains. On arrival, all passengers were registered and screened by state governments, which limited the capacity of terminals to handle trains. As against 20 minutes taken in normal trains, it took one to three hours in releasing the train at terminals, the Railway Board said.
Lastly, to protect those who are vulnerable to COVID-19, the Railway Board asked passengers with co-morbidities such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, immune deficiency conditions as well as pregnant women, children below 10 years and people above 65 years to avoid train travel, except when it is really urgent.