Representative image (Image: AP)
With the central government on April 29 allowing the movement of stranded migrant workers, students and pilgrims, among others, to their respective states, the Railway Ministry has drafted a plan to operate 400 trains per day, and the number can be scaled up to 1,000 eventually, for facilitating the movement.
According to a report by The Indian Express, while there is no indication as to when the passenger trains will start operations, the Railways carried out an internal exercise and has communicated the plan to the government.
"Each bus typically carries 25 people after following social distancing. The Railways’ detailed protocol also had a paragraph stating that states falling in the routes should allow the movement, screening, controlled embarking etc," a senior government official told the newspaper.
Follow our LIVE Updates here.
The plan, according to the report, is that every non-AC train will carry 1,000 people per trip to ensure social distancing. That is half the usual number, according to the report.
"It is just to allow an option of relief for the stranded wanting to travel to their home states, and not a really viable transportation solution over long distances," another official said.
Also Read | Railways privatisation may get a shot in the arm
The development comes after many Chief Ministers, including those of Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Kerala, demanded that the central government allow special trains to function for stranded students and migrant workers.
"Long awaited demand of movement of migrant workers has finally been accepted by the GoI. It is a welcome step but until GoI allows Indian railway to operate – practically it will not be possible to facilitate smooth and hassle-free transport to their home..." Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had said in a tweet after the government's order.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, too, had raised the same concern. "We are thankful for the MHA order and we are deliberating on our resources. However, I had said earlier that the state is not capable of bringing them back on our own. I had a word with Piyush Goyalji on this matter earlier," Soren had said, referring to Railway Minister Goyal.Click here to get all the news on the coronavirus pandemic