Despite Gujarat announcing closure of “Shramik” train service five days ago, the exodus of migrants continued as two trains carrying migrants to West Bengal and Nagaland left from Ahmedabad Friday evening.
While the train to Howrah in West Bengal largely carried artisans who used to work in jewellery shops in Ahmedabad, the train to Dimapur in Nagaland will be stopping at Vadodara, Surat and Nagpur to pick up passengers. Both the trains originated from Sabarmati in Ahmedabad.
“The train to West Bengal was arranged after local NGOs made representation about migrants who still wanted to leave. Similarly, both Nagaland government and the people from the state residing in Gujarat had requested for a train. Both these trains are Shramik trains and the payment for the migrants have been done by the respective state governments. We are just facilitating their return,” said K K Nirala, district collector of Ahmedabad while speaking to The Indian Express.
Between May 2 and May 31, Gujarat operated 1,017 Shramik trains that carried 15.18 lakh migrants. The state government on May 31 said it has stopped operating Shramik trains.
The train to Howarh on Friday carried around 1,700 passengers, while the one to Dimapur carried around 1,400 passengers, officials said.
“We had made a request to the district collector for a train to West Bengal about three days ago. The migrants who are travelling today are mostly from Jamalpur, Behrampura, Shah Alam and Maninagar areas,” said Priti Oza, vice-president of Centre for Labour Research and Action, which sent the proposal for the train. Labour unions like Majur Adhikar Manch and local association of Bengalis did the ground work of listing out the migrants and transporting them in 33 buses to the Sabarmati station.
“No money from the migrants was collected for tickets,” Oza added.
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