The Railways has drawn up a schedule to operate 2,600 Shramik Special trains over the next 10 days across the country to ferry around 36 lakh migrant workers, stranded due to the COVID-19 lockdown, to their home states, Chairman of the Railway Board V K Yadav said on Saturday.
It has run 2,600 Shramik Special trains in the last 23 days carrying around 36 lakh stranded migrants, he said, adding 1,000 ticket counters have been opened across India and more will be opened soon.
“We have operated 260 Shramik Special trains every day on an average for the last four days, carrying three lakh passengers daily,” Yadav said.
To a question on fares of the special trains to be operated from June 1, the Railway Board chairman said the railways was charging pre-lockdown normal fares only.
He reiterated that 85 per cent of the expense of Shramik Special trains is being borne by the Centre and the states are only paying 15 pc in the form of fares.
Responding to a letter sent by the West Bengal government seeking stalling of all migrant trains to the state till May 26 due to Cyclone Amphan, Yadav said it was due to a natural calamity and things will be back to normal soon.
“The West Bengal chief secretary wrote to me that restoration work is underway and they’ll tell us soon when they will be able to receive the trains. As soon as they give us clearance, we’ll run trains to West Bengal,” he said.
Responding to a question on why certain trains were being diverted to longer routes, Yadav said since most of the migrant special trains were terminating in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the railways has decided to take decongested albeit longer routes to operate these trains.
“This method is employed even during normal times to avoid congested routes,” he said. The Railways will run 100 pairs of special trains from June 1.