Around 3,000 migrant workers who were stranded in Gurgaon for the last month and a half during the lockdown, began their journey home on Wednesday via two ‘Shramik Special’ trains that departed from the Gurgaon railway station.
According to officials, while one train departed for Madhya Pradesh at 10.30 am, the other left for Bihar at 12.30 pm.
“Thermal scanning of all passengers was done before they boarded the trains to ensure none of them were infected. The train to Madhya Pradesh had around 1,400 people spread out across 20 bogies. Of the 20, 15 had 80 seats each while five bogies had a capacity of 40 seats each,” said a spokesperson of the district administration.
“The second train to Bihar had around 1,600 passengers spread out over 20 bogies, each of which had a capacity of 80 seats,” he said.
Officials said the Haryana government paid for the tickets. Although officials were unable to give an exact figure regarding the total cost incurred by the government for the trips, an official said, “The usual price for tickets on such journeys is Rs 500 to Rs 700 per person. Here, the cost would have been a little more because these are special trains where certain precautions are being taken as well.”
Every passenger was given a water bottle each, specially prepared packets of biscuits and other snacks, said officials.
Among those who boarded the train to Madhya Pradesh was Narendra Rajpur (21), a resident of Chhatarpur, who works at a shop in Khandsa village. “I had been left here with no work and little money ever since the lockdown, and have been desperate to go home to my family. I plan to return once the lockdown is over and things start returning to normal again,” he said.
Nandu Kewat (40), also on the train to Madhya Pradesh, said, “I have been working as a labourer here for the last two years, but have had no work in two months now. I am going home so that I can spend some time with my children in the village as well. I will return when things start to open up again.”