Chaos prevailed outside the Bandra Terminus on Tuesday afternoon after hundreds of migrant workers turned up following rumours that the Railways was planning to run an additional train to north India later in the day.
The local police, however, allowed only 1,700 of the registered migrants to enter the station premises, who were then allowed to board the Shramik special train that was to leave for Bihar.
The rest were turned away with the assurance that additional trains would be run in the coming few days.
Around 3,000 migrants – as per unoffficial estimates – clutching their belongings, walked to Bandra Terminus from across the city around 9 am. The Bihar-bound train, scheduled to leave around 12 pm, finally left at 1.30 pm with 1,700 migrants who were registered to undertake the journey. The rest were turned away.
Around 3 pm, another 400-odd migrants reached the station – one-and-a-half hours after the only train scheduled for the day from the station had left. The migrants assembled after hearing rumours that another train would leave in the evening.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone VIII) Manjunath Singe, however, put the number of migrants gathering at the station in the morning to around 1,400. “Around 1,300 to 1,400 people had gathered on the flyover near Bandra Terminus at 9 am. Another 300 to 400 people crowded the station again at 3 pm. We assured them that special trains were being run every day and that they would be informed of their date of departure soon.”
Singe added that despite Shramik special train schedules being widely circulated, rumours were being spread of additional services. “People living in the slums near Bandra Terminus had told their relatives and friends living in other parts of the city that an additional train would leave the station on Tuesday evening. These people, who are all desperate to go back home, had stayed the night near the station,” he said.
Those turned back by the police had come from Dharavi, Kurla and Saki Naka areas among others, said Singe.
An officer from the Government Railway Police (GRP) said: “Many migrant workers were under the impression that the Railways has scheduled an additional train on Tuesday to get them back home for Eid,” said Ravindra Sengaonkar, Mumbai GRP Commissioner.
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