The first Shramik train from Gujarat to Kerala left the state with over 1,200 stranded migrants on Tuesday. Despite being a point-to-point train, the Thiruvanthapuram-bound train originated at Rajkot and made multiple stops in the state, picking up migrants along the way, official sources said.
The train which started from Rajkot with 300-odd passengers, stopped at Ahmedabad to pick up over 270 migrants including those from Gandhinagar and Mehsana, 62 from Vadodara and 568 from Surat. Passengers who boarded this train from Ahmedabad said they had to pay Rs 885 for a ticket.
Anu Jacob Kurshingal, a 26-year-old academician who lost her job during the lockdown, said that passengers in Ahmedabad were herded into the train bogies like cattle. “Firstly, we were made to wait at the GMDC ground. From there, we boarded the bus to the railway station. Then, we had to spend more than three hours within the bus and later they made us stand in neatly-drawn circles outside the railway station and videographed us. As we stepped on to the railway platform, we were herded into the bogies of the waiting train like sheep and cattle. There was no social distancing during boarding or inside the train. No health check was conducted,” said Anu after boarding the train at 4 am.
“Having suffered the trauma of lockdown in a new city, the way we were treated was the last nail in the coffin. I will never return,” said Anu who had come to Ahmedabad for a job in December 2019. After the lockdown was announced, she stopped getting paid by her employers.
More than 5,000 migrants in Gujarat, including students and workers who lost their jobs, have listed themselves on the Non-Resident Keralites Affairs (NORKA) website of the Kerala Government.
On Tuesday, a Shramik train from Gandhidham to Visakhapatnam also made multiple stops at Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat to pick passengers for the destinations of Rajamundry, Srikakulam, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam. This train carried about 1,209 migrants.
On Tuesday, 17 trains carrying 20,677 migrants left the state. So far, 901 Shramik trains from Gujarat have transported 13.12 lakh migrants.
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