Improve Coordination For Smooth Movement Of Migrants On Shramik Special Trains: Railways Ministry Tells States

Faced with mounting problems over reported onboard deaths, route congestion and food supply, Indian Railways has requested all state governments to further boost planning and coordination about Shramik Trains.

Supreme Court, in its order on 28 May 2020, has also issued interim directions for mitigating the difficulties faced by the migrant workers and has desired that an estimated time period and plan for transportation of all stranded workers be intimated.

It is a fact that Shramik Specials are running on some of the most densely trafficked corridors which carry essential freight like coal for power plants, food grain, fertiliser and cement among other goods.

Railways have maintained a high level of loading of commodities to ensure that the essential supply line is maintained.

Railways also ran a large number of time-tabled parcel trains to deliver agri produce, medicines and other essential items during this period.

According to railways, projected demand for movement of stranded persons by rail mode should be well chalked out and determined.

States must indicate the projected number of Shramik Special Trains required for the residual movement of stranded persons from the state along with the tentative schedule for movement of these trains.

On World Labour Day, the public transporter launched Shramik Special trains for movement of stranded persons, in coordination with state governments.

So far, more than 4,000 Shramik Special services have been operated by Indian Railways to transport approximately 54 lakh stranded persons to their destination states, observing the guidelines and the protocols given by Ministries of Home and
Health.

Railways is ready to provide additional Shramik Special trains for any requirement given in future also.

The Chairman of Railway Board has written to all Chief Secretaries requesting state governments to ensure proper planning and coordination about Shramik Trains and see that the projected demand for movement of stranded persons by rail mode is well chalked out and determined.

Railways has emphasised that states must indicate the projected number of Shramik Special Trains required for the residual movement of stranded persons from the state along with the tentative schedule for movement of these trains through an official communication.

While the Railways has been able to place rakes on demand by states for Shramik Specials, there have been several instances where passengers have not been brought to the station and notified trains have been cancelled.

Some of the states have also not been giving consent to the sending States, preventing transportation of a large number of migrant labour from those States.

Railways has been able to accommodate almost all the requests received from the sending states till date.

Many states have now reduced their requirements, indicating that the task is nearing completion.

It may also be noted that nearly 75 per cent of the trains were bound for Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and most of the balance trains were also headed towards Eastern India.

In a move towards normalcy, Railways has come forward to help several state governments meet the requirement of intra-state movement of people by organising such trains at their request.

Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at akdas2005@gmail.com.