May 29, 2020 1:54:21 pm
Punjab will stop plying daily Shramik trains from Friday, but may send more on a need basis in the coming days. A total of 375 Shramik special trains from Punjab have carried migrants to their home states so far.
On Thursday, only 10 trains originated from Punjab for UP and Bihar, of which 9 trains left from Ludhiana and one from Ferozepur. So far, over 5.31 lakh people have been sent from Punjab to various other states, primarily UP and Bihar, of which nearly 4.83 lakh have been sent via trains, while 23,006 have been sent via 788 buses, said Rahul Tiwari, nodal officer, State Covid Control Room (SCCR).
So far, Punjab has spent over Rs 26 crore in sending people through trains and buses. However 3,172 people also moved out via flights for which they paid themselves. In addition to this, as per government records, a total of 21,948 people moved out via 4,974 private vehicles as well.
So far, 17.7 lakh migrants had registered themselves on the Punjab government’s portal to go to different parts of India, out of which 15.4 lakh wanted to go to UP and Bihar only. The Punjab government started registration of migrants on May 1, and started Shramik trains on May 5.
The highest number of trains that left Punjab in a day was 25 (May 19). On May 26, 18 trains went from Punjab while 14 trains went on May 27. On May 28, this number reduced to just 10 and finally on May 29, no train was scheduled for Punjab either from Ferozepur railway division or Ambala railway division.
Rajesh Aggarwal, divisional railway manager, Ferozepur division and nodal officer for Shramik trains in Punjab, said, “The demand for trains had reduced and hence only 10 trains went on Friday and on Saturday, no Shramik train will go from Punjab.”
For the past two days, the Ludhiana administration has not been sending an SMSes to migrants for boarding trains and was instead issuing details of trains through news reports, social media pages of administration and Ludhiana police.
Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Pardeep Agarwal said, “There is no train scheduled for tomorrow for Ludhiana. If need arises, we may schedule few trains for day after.”
Jalandhar had sent its last train on May 26. Bathinda had already cancelled three trains last week. A total of 21,948 people moved out via 4,974 private vehicles as well.
Sources said that from June 1, special trains will start. Low occupancy in trains was reported in many stations like Ferozepur, Bathinda , Faridkot. Sources added that the government was under pressure from industrialists not to send labour via free train tickets.
At the same time, movement of labour happens from Punjab in May every year as many go to take care of their crops while there is wedding season in UP, Bihar. “Now as work has started opening up, even our friends who were selling tea and balloons on roadside have also started selling, hence many are staying back,” said Surinder Kumar, who works in a cloth shop in Sherpur area.
Ludhiana was the hotspot of the migrant exodus as over 9 lakh migrants had registered to go back and nearly 3 lakh have gone back via 194 trains and buses as well.
Fresh registration can be done on May 29: DC
In a video message released Thursday evening, Ludhiana DC Pardeep Agarwal said, “So far we have sent 194 Shramik trains to UP, Bihar, Jharkhand etc. Nearly 3 lakh people have reached their home states. We had sent messages via SMS to all the persons who had registered through portal and all those who turned up, were sent. In case, a few missed their chance to go, they can get fresh registration done on May 29 at Guru Nanak Stadium and after that we can plan a fresh schedule of their trains as per the registration details. Registration will start from 10 am onwards.”
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