The Railways, which is running Shramik Special trains daily to take stranded migrants home, instructed its zonal authorities on Saturday to ensure that ground-level functionaries, like station masters, immediately inform local general managers or divisional railway managers if district or state authorities intimate them of the requirement of such trains.
The instructions asked general managers and divisional railway managers to use “full discretion” and ensure trains are provided at the earliest.
This came on a day when 24 migrant workers were killed in a road accident at Auraiya in Uttar Pradesh. “This is very important considering the situation prevailing in the country now,” the instructions said.
Divisional railway managers who received the communication told The Sunday Express that this was, in a way, reiteration of some communications on the same lines in the past.
In an apparent bid to reach out to District Collectors, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal Saturday tweeted that District Collectors should give a list of those stranded in their areas and the proposed requirement of trains to the state nodal officer and also to the state nodal officers of Railways.
“To provide relief to migrant labour, Indian Railways is ready to run ‘Shramik Special’ trains from any District in the Country. District Collectors should prepare lists of stranded labour and destination and apply to Railways through the State nodal officer,” Goyal tweeted, adding, “Along with this, the District Collectors should give a list and destination to the State Nodal Officer of Railways.”
In the political circles, it was at first viewed as a prelude to Railways wanting to run Shramik trains even to states where the state governments were not prompt in giving permissions for such services, or mounting indirect pressure on them — an extension of the ongoing political battle between the Centre and Opposition-ruled states, especially West Bengal.
By Saturday, about 15 lakh stranded people had been transported to home states by 1,150 such trains running since May 1.
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