The Punjab government has sanctioned Rs 35 crore, in the first phase, towards its share of the migrants’ cost of transportation by the Indian Railways as the first special ‘Shramik Express’ train, carrying 1,200 stranded migrants, left Punjab for Daltonganj, Jharkhand.
The state government is estimating that five-six lakh of the stranded migrants could opt for train travel to return to their homes from Punjab, with the rest expected to go by road. Taking Rs 640 as the average ticket price, the State Executive Committee has approved Rs 35 crore as the initial amount needed. The funds have been sanctioned under the National Disaster Relief Act, 2005.
According to an official spokesperson, 25% of the sanctioned amount has been transferred on an immediate basis to the DCs, who have been authorised to pay to the Railways directly and give the tickets to the registered passengers. The remaining will be transferred to the DCs, who have been asked to prepare state-wise lists of stranded migrants wanting to go back to their native places, on a daily basis.
All the workers who wish to travel back to their homes have been enrolled on the state portal and the schedule of the trains with other relevant details are being communicated to them, via SMS.
As per available data, more than 6.44 lakh migrant workers interested in returning to their home states have registered on the state government’s specially created portal – http://www.covidhelp.punjab.gov.in.