Days after the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) allowed the movement of migrant workers, students, pilgrims, and other stranded persons across the country because of the COVID-19 lockdown, a train departed on Friday from Telangana to Jharkhand carrying migrants.
It was reported that the non-stop train carrying around 1,200 migrants departed from Lingampalli in Telangana to Hatia in Jharkhand. The train began its journey at 4:50 am, said Arun Kumar, Director-General, Railway Protection Force (RPF). He said the train was expected to reach Hatia at around 11 pm today.
The train has 24 coaches and it is the only train to be deployed so far, the RPF DG added.
The Indian Railways released a statement which read:
“Today morning a one-off special train was run from Lingampalli to Hatia on request of the state government of Telangana and as per the directions of the Ministry of Railways. All necessary precautions such as prior screening of passengers, maintaining social distancing at the station, and on the train were followed.
“This was only a one-off special train and any further trains shall be planned only as per the directions of the Ministry of Railways and on request from both the originating and destination state governments.”
A report quoted officials in Jharkhand as saying that the state government has made adequate arrangements to test and quarantine migrants returning to the state via the special non-stop train.
It may be noted that the Indian Railways had announced the suspension of passenger, mail and express train services on March 22 in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The MHA had on Wednesday allowed the movement of migrant workers, tourists, students, pilgrims and others stranded at various places. The MHA order dated April 29, 2020, stated that “due to lockdown, migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students, and other persons are stranded at different places. They would be allowed to move.”
The Government of India allowed states and union territories to facilitate the inter-state movement of stranded people including migrant laborers in the country. All persons to be medically screened at source and destination, and kept in the home or institutional quarantine on arrival, as per the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the spokesperson of the MHA had announced on Twitter.
(With inputs from timesnownews)