May 16, 2020
Mumbai At least two special Shramik specials, one each for Kolkata and Patna, carrying thousands of stranded migrants from Bihar and West Bengal left from Mumbai on Saturday, officials said.
The development came after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray spoke with his counterparts — Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee — seeking their cooperation.
Besides, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar also called up Nitish Kumar and Banerjee, paving the way for the migrant labourers from those states to leave for home today.
The first special service left Mumbai for Howrah, Kolkata this morning while one special train left Kalyan (Thane) for Gaya (Bihar) today, said Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
Now, efforts are on to run at least 10 more such special trains daily, required to ferry the migrants from those states, added Deshmukh.
So far, around 245,000 migrants have been sent home in 191 special trains in the past one week with their ticket fares paid by Maharashtra government, he added.
The CM has sanctioned an amount of Rs 54.75 crore for the purpose to ensure the migrants can reach home without incurring any financial burden.
Thackeray has repeatedly appealed to the migrants across the state to remain wherever they are as the state is making arrangements to ensure their return to their home states on a priority basis.
The Indian Railways is daily operating around 25 special trains from and to various destinations in Maharashtra to clear the rush of migrants here.
The special train services have been operated to Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Jammu, the minister said.
Maharashtra has been grappling with the biggest problem of migrants especially in Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad, Nagpur and other districts who have been clamouring to return since lockdown started on March 24.
Many became desperate as they exhausted resources and chose to either walk or drive down in autorickshaws, taxis and even two-wheelers or bicycles, thousands of kms to their distant homes around the country. IANS