Nearly 2,000 migrant workers from various parts of Mumbai were ferried to Kalyan terminus, 50 km from the city, Tuesday to board three separate Shramik special trains to Guntakal in Andhra Pradesh, Kalyan to Darbhanga in Bihar, and from Panvel to Rewa in Madhya Pradesh.
With Mumbai identified as a COVID-19 hotspot, currently, no trains are running from its CSMT, Dadar, Mumbai Central and Bandra terminuses. The Central Railway (CR) has, so far, run two special trains from Bhiwandi, and the Western Railway (WR) as many trains from Vasai Road and Dahanu Road stations.
Around 800 labourers, mostly engaged in unloading fish at Ferry Wharf, and from Dana Bunder and Masjid Bunder areas were taken to Kalyan in buses to board the Kalyan-Guntakal Shramik Special. Another 942 migrant workers, from south Mumbai, were taken to Kalyan with the help of Dongri police.
Thirty-year-old Nityekalu Yadav, who has been working at Wadi Bunder fish market for nearly 15 years, said he could not contain his happiness on being finally able to take a train home. “We had filled a form three days ago. Today, we received a call from the police asking us to get our things packed and be ready to leave. We have no idea how our location was selected for returning,” he said.
An official from Dongri police said migrants were called to the police station Tuesday evening soon after a train was arranged. “They were taken in 35 different buses to the terminus to board the train,” the official said.
A daily wager from Vile Parel, Amit Kumar, a native of Danapur in Bihar, had registered himself at the Vile Parle police station a few days ago but had little hope. On Tuesday, he barely managed to pay Rs 690 as train fare and another Rs 20 for the bus ride but said he was glad that he was finally going home.
So far, seven trains have been run from the outskirts of Mumbai to take stranded migrants to their home states. A few trains have left from Nashik, Nagpur, Akola and Nandurbar, while one train arrived at Chandrapur on Tuesday.
Officials said trains are being requisitioned as and when there was a demand, while workers were informed after approval from a receiving state is received.
Around 55 buses with migrants left from Mumbai on Tuesday. Harsh Kotak, general secretary of Mumbai Bus Malak Sanghatna, said so far 15 buses had received NOC and left for Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
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