Migrant workers start returning to big cities: Railways

Migrant workers start returning to big cities: Railways

Migrant workers. Credits: AFP Photo

With economic activities picks up in many parts of the country, the migrant workers have started returning to big cities as several special trains occupancy have increased, said a top railway official.

"It is heartening to see that movement in the reverse direction from states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal has begun with migrant workers returning to the states that they had left due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is indicating improving economic situation," Railway Board chairman V K Yadav told reporters here.

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Several trains returning from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar or West Bengal to cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai or Ahmedabad have increased occupancy for past few days.

"We are keeping a watch on the occupancy of the special trains. Very soon we will begin more special trains depending on demand from states, occupancy, the Covid-19 situation," the chairperson said.

He also said that while it may not be possible to run all regular trains in the near future given the coronavirus situation, more special trains will be introduced soon.

Though railway suspended regular mail/express train services till August 12, it is operating 100 pair special timetabled trains and 15 pair special Rajdhani trains connecting all major cities in the country.

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On Covid-19 isolation coaches, he said that the railways is spending an estimated Rs 2 lakh per isolation coach for its maintenance, food, and linen for patients onboard and protective gear for the staff.

This was the budgetary estimate of the Railways for the 5,213 coaches which have been modified as isolation coaches and the money for it has already been received from the central Covid-19 care fund.

The railways received Rs 620 crore from the central Covid-19 care fund.

Yadav said the Railways has identified 160 projects for returnee migrant workers which will generate around nine lakh man-days of work under the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan in 6 states.