The first train to the northeast from Gujarat, ferrying migrant workers and students, mostly from Meghalaya, will depart Vadodara on Friday at 4 pm. The train to Guwahati will ferry passengers from several districts, including Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Jamanagar and Bharuch.
Till Wednesday, the list of passengers had 121 Meghalaya natives who were stranded in Gujarat. It was subsequently brought to the Meghalaya government’s notice that several others had registered but were not included in the list. On Thursday, the revised list had 217 passengers, including students of MS University in Vadodara.
A woman from Meghalaya who works in the hospitality sector in Ahmedabad, said, “There are another 25 to 30 persons who registered and have not been included in the list. We have been told that another updated list will be sent by Thursday evening including all.”
According to Gujarat government officials, Meghalaya government is paying for the train tickets and bearing the cost incurred for them to reach Vadodara from other districts.
A private firm employee in Bharuch told The Indian Express, “We were not paid salary this month but we were given food at the quarters. We requested transport to Vadodara but we were told we have to pay. We cannot afford it.”
Bharuch District Collector MD Modiya was apprised of the same and transport was arranged on payment by the Meghalaya government. “The transport shall be arranged for by the mamlatdar office of Hansot and they shall be dropped at Vadodara station by 2 pm on Friday,” said Deputy Collector of Bharuch (name?).
However, around 150 people stranded in various parts of Ahmedabad were uncertain about reaching the nodal pick-up point. Ahmedabad District Collector KK Nirala said that the collector’s office was coordinating with the state government and eight buses were arranged. From the areas under the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), the civic body is expected to arrange transport, added Nirala.
Municipal commissioner incharge, Mukesh Kumar, was unavailable for comment. Transport committee chairman Atul Bhavsar said this would come under the respective mamlatdar’s jurisdiction. “The mamlatdar is supposed to inform us what is needed and we will arrange for buses and pick-up points accordingly,” said Bhavsar.
Vadodara District Collector Shalini Agarwal had made arrangements to send about 40 students from Assam in Vadodara. On Wednesday, a bus carrying 17 residents of Ladakh left Vadodara, while on Thursday evening, 27 students from Arunachal Pradesh were sent home by a special bus.
Additional Collector of Vadodara, Ram Joshi, who is the nodal officer to send back stranded migrants, said, “The state government of Assam had not given any permission to send back their people but with the intervention of the District Collector of Vadodara, we were able to send the first batch of students earlier in May. The train on Friday will go up to Guwahati and the respective state governments from the northeastern states will coordinate their travel further. We were also able to send back students to Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh.”
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