In a bid to promote the transportation of the migrant workers to their native lands, the Indian Railways on Monday, May 11, revised its rules for the Shramik train services. As per the new guidelines, the Shramik Special trains will now run with a full capacity of 1,700 passengers instead of the current 1,200. The train capacity should be hereafter equal to the number of sleeper berths on the train.
Shramik trains with three stops
The latest Railways order has also allowed three stoppages in the destination state other than the final destination stop.
"The Railways has a capacity to run 300 trains per day and we want to maximise it. We want to carry as many migrants home as possible over the next few days and have appealed to states to send approvals," said a senior Railways officer to the media.
The Railways announcement comes a day after it previously announced to run 15 pairs of air-conditioned trains from New Delhi to several cities from May 12.
The Indian Railways had suspended all the passenger, mail and express train services from March 25 on behalf of the nationwide lockdown against the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Shramik Special train services were begun from May 1 to help ferry the stranded migrant workers, students, pilgrims and tourists to the native lands. These trains have 24 coaches with a capacity to carry 72 passengers in each coach, although only 54 passengers in each coach were allowed due to the social distancing norms.
Over 468 Shramik Special trains have been operated till date, ferrying about 4.7 lakh people across several states.
363 trains had reached its destination in various stages including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu. While 105 other trains are in transit according to the Railway sources.
Migrants from cities like Tiruchchirappalli, Titlagarh, Barauni, Khandwa, Jagannathpur, Khurda Road, Prayagraj, Chhapra, Balia, Gaya, Purnia, Varanasi, Darbhanga, Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Jaunpur, Hatia, Basti, Katihar, Danapur, Muzaffarpur, Saharsa, etc. have been transported back home by these services.
Railways to resume its services
Meanwhile, the Railways on Sunday has announced its decision to resume the train services with 15 pair AC trains equivalent to Rajdhani Express from New Delhi.
According to railway officials, these trains in the initial phase will run as special AC trains from New Delhi Station to Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi.
It also added that these coaches will be equipped with AC with the limited stoppage and the fare will be equivalent to the Rajdhani Express train.
The reservation for these special AC trains will start from Monday at 4 pm for which the passengers can book their tickets from the official website of the IRCTC.
It also mentioned that the ticket booking counters at the railway stations will continue to remain shut and no other counter tickets, including platform tickets, shall be issued.