Despite the Centre's vivid explanations on the need for institutional quarantine of the stranded migrants who now return back to their homeland, chaos prevailed at KSR Bengaluru City Railway station on Thursday, May 14, as passengers from New Delhi protested against the authorities for insisting the 14-days institutional quarantine.
Around 1,000 passengers were on board the special train from Delhi. This was the first special train to reach Karnataka.
Passengers against quarantine
The passengers were immediately sent for Covid-19 screening on the station premises as soon as their arrival at the Bengaluru City Railway station.
The New Delhi- Bengaluru one way Superfast Express Special train had left Delhi at 9.15 pm on Tuesday and was scheduled to reach at Bengaluru at 6.40 am on Thursday but reached at 7.18 am.
The passengers belonging to Anantapur, Guntakal, Secunderabad, Nagpur, Bhopal and Jhansi were onboard the train.
Most of them raised complaints about services inside the train, alleged lack of prior information about quarantining them and the absence of a proper catalog of hotels. This instigated over hundreds of passengers who arrived at Bengaluru on staging a protest by holding up inside the waiting room for more than five hours at the railway station.
According to a senior railway official, the Bengaluru civic agency along with the Karnataka Health Department had set up 10 health check-up counters to screen the passengers.
Not informed of the quarantine, says travellers
Meanwhile, as per the travellers, they were not informed prior to the quarantining.
"I came here to see my daughter who is unwell. After reaching here, I am told I will have to spend time in quarantine. The Railways should have informed that we will be quarantined," said a woman passenger to the media who was unaware of the institutional quarantine.
Many people were also pleading with the authorities to let them go home as they were unable to pay for the hotel rents for the prescribed days.
After the Covid scanning at the terminals, the passengers were directed to board the buses ready to take them to the hotels and other institutions, which have been converted into quarantine centres, said the officials.
The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) had deployed 15 of its buses for the service with over 4,200 rooms booked in 42 hotels around the Majestic Railway Station.
According to Deputy Commissioner of Bengaluru Urban district G N Shivamurthy, "We have reserved 90 hotels in and around the railway station. These are for institutional quarantine. The passengers willing to stay in these hotels will have to bear the cost. Separate arrangements have been made for those who don't wish to stay in hotels."
Additionally, he also made it clear that everyone who enters the city from outside stations should compulsorily abide to the 14-days institutional quarantine facilities and Covid-19 tests made avail by the government.
A few passengers who arrived from Delhi this morning protesting at KSR Bengaluru City railway station saying they will not undergo institutional quarantine.
Allege they were not informed.
— Nolan Pinto (@nolanentreeo) May 14, 2020