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National

Zero demand for Shramik Specials now: Rail ministry

June 30, 2020 06:43 AM

COURTESY HT JUNE 30

Zero demand for Shramik Specials now: Rail ministry
Anisha Dutta

letters@hindustantimes.com

New Delhi : As many as 4,596 Shramik special trains have ferried over 6.2 million migrant workers till Saturday and there has since been no demand for them, the railway ministry said on Monday, and added it will operate them if they are requested to.

The trains were started from May 1 to ferry workers left jobless by the Covid-19 lockdown to their home states.

The railways on Friday said many of them have begun going back to the places where they worked and added it indicates the economic activity has begun picking up after India began easing the lockdown this month.

“Railways ran 4,596 Shramik trains till June 27. There was zero demand from states yesterday [Sunday] and even tomorrow [Tuesday]. Apart from only one train running today [Monday] from Bangalore to Muzaffarpur, there are no trains in the pipeline.

“We will run them whenever state governments demand within 24 hours,” a railway ministry spokesperson said.

The Supreme Court this month directed the railways to provide special trains within 24 hours if demand comes from state governments. The ministry had also written to states asking them whether they needed rains to ferry the remaining migrants.

HT on June 3 reported the special trains may be on their final leg of operation with demand for them reducing from the states.

Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the country’s most populous states, have received the maximum number of these trains--1,723 and 1,680--followed by Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal. The two big states accounted for nearly 75% of trains ferrying migrants back.

West Bengal accounted for 282 trains.

Trains returning from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal have been booked 100% from June 26 to June 30, according to railway ministry data. It indicates a return of migrants, who had gone back to their home states.

The railways is running 15 pairs of Rajdhani trains connecting Delhi with different parts of the country and 100 pairs of long-distance trains, which began on June 1.

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