Normal train bookings might have resumed with the beginning of the Unlock, but migrants continue to register on Punjab government portal to return home on special Shramik trains.
The Shramik trains were rolled out during the Lockdown in May and two weeks into the Unlock, nearly 20,000 migrants have registered themselves to return to their native states in these trains. Punjab government has also arranged nine trains in which 10,535 migrants were sent back after the unlock began.
Till June 1, around 18,11,659 migrants had registered themselves, which went up to 18,31,452 as on June 15. Unlock 1.0 had begun on June 1.
Data sourced from the various districts of Punjab revealed that during the unlock period, 19,799 migrants got themselves registered to go back to their respective home states in UP and Bihar.
In this period, maximum migrants got themselves registered from Ludhiana (4,065), which is more than 20 per cent of the total registrations during the Unlock fortnight. Further, 2,101 registered in Gurdaspur, 1,773 from Amritsar, 1,559 in Mohali, 1,048 in Jalandhar, 994 and 950 from Pathankot, Hoshiarpur, respectively. Rupnagar had 908 registrations, Sangrur had 872 and Kapurthala recorded 704.
The remaining 12 districts also witnessed registration of migrants between 300 to 700 per district.
As many as 4,598 migrants were sent from Pathankot during the fortnight. As many as 3,117 migrants were sent back from Barnala, 2,800 migrants were sent by various other districts, including 600 each by Hoshiarpur and Bathinda and over 1,000 were sent from Kapurthala and Moga districts.
“Though now the 8 Covid-19 special trains are coming (up and down) to Punjab, including four from Bihar, Bengal, Uttrakhand, where anyone can travel after booking online tickets, but the government is still facilitating the migrants wishing to go back,” said a senior officer in Punjab government, adding that these trains takes them free of cost while in special Covid-19 trains now they have to bear the travel cost.
Divisional Railway Manager, Northern Railway, Rajesh Aggarwal, said that though now normal booking of the trains has been started, the frequency of those is not much but the facility of railway travel is there. Still Railways is providing the special Shramik trains to the Punjab government on demand, he added.
Meanwhile out of 18.31 lakh registered migrants in Punjab only 23 per cent (4.15 lakh) have so far gone back through around 400 Shramik trains.
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