Around 40 per cent of the Shramik Special trains so far have set off from the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, carrying roughly 20 lakh migrants back home. Until Thursday, 50 lakh stranded passengers had used these trains, the majority to get to their homes in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, according to official data.
Until Thursday, 3,736 Shramik trains had departed from stations across India, with those in Gujarat accounting for the largest number — 979 outbound special trains. Maharashtra is fast catching up — with around 695 of the Shramik trains carrying migrants out the state.
Of the 3,736 trains, over 75 per cent were headed to destinations in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, irrespective of where the trains originated from.
While UP has received around 1,530 of these trains, Bihar has by now received around 1,296. As per data, UP received 20,47,000 migrants, while Bihar has received around 17,34,000 migrants so far.
There are, however, signs that the demand for Shramik Specials could be finally ebbing. On Thursday, for instance, merely 35 Shramik Specials were scheduled to depart from various parts of the country.
Officials said that while Gujarat was planning to send 80 trains to Odisha, the state may only need to send about 10 more trains to other parts of the country. Over the past few days, Maharashtra has seen cancellations with the state unable to utilise the capacity of the Shramik trains. In Telangana, the 36 trains that set off on May 23 and 24 ran at just about 59 per cent capacity, sources said — 17 of those at less than 50 per cent capacity.
“I am happy to say that in the Corona crisis, the Shramik Special trains have so far transported over 50 lakh labourers to the home states in safe and convenient manner,” Railway Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted Thursday.
Railways data shows that after Gujarat and Maharashtra, Punjab has seen off 397 trains, 263 trains originated from UP and a similar number from Bihar.
Among the Opposition states, West Bengal has so far received only about 75 trains. Three Shramik Specials, data shows, originated from West Bengal — to Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir and Bihar.
Chhattisgarh received around 53 trains, Rajasthan received around 45 trains while it sent out around 119, of which around 18 were from Kota, taking away mostly stranded students. Odisha received around 159 trains while it sent out three – one each to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Chhattisgarh.
Kerala has received just nine trains, three from Maharashtra, two from Delhi, and one each from Punjab, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Gujarat. It has so far sent out around 50 trains, mostly to Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, but also to West Bengal, Rajasthan and even to Manipur, Tripura and Jammu.
When the trains began running on May 1, only 1,200 passengers, accounting for social distancing, travelled on each trip. But towards the middle of the month, each train carried a maximum of 1,600 passengers each way. An estimated 50 lakh people have so far travelled on the trains as per ticket sale figures till Thursday.
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