Punjab started the Shramik Express train services for the migrant labourers who are left stranded amid the Coronavirus lockdown, as the first train carrying 1,200 migrants left for Daltonganj in Jharkhand from the Jalandhar railway station on Tuesday.
According to the officials, all the passengers, who got stuck in Jalandhar and were not able to go to their native villages, were screened by the health teams before being allowed to board the train.
The ticket cost of the train travel will be borne by the state government, which will cost around Rs 7.12 lakh, said the officials.
The Jalandhar district administration in an official release said, “The Punjab government led by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today facilitated the free home-going of 1,200 migrants stranded in the city, as first ‘Shramik Express’ train chugged off to Daltonganj, Jharkhand at a cost of Rs 7. 12 lakh, which was being borne by the state government.”
The railways is running Shramik Special trains to move migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded in various parts of the country since March 25.
Earlier, Amarinder Singh, the Chief Minister of Punjab said on Monday that his government would pay the train fare of the migrant labourers.
These migrants, who had enrolled themselves on the portal of the state government, were informed through SMSes and phone calls about the schedule of the train, said the official release of the state government.
The migrants were brought in batches in special buses to the railway station. Right from medical screening to boarding the train, elaborate arrangements were put in place for maintaining social distancing among the migrants, it said.
The Ferozepur division of the railways in its official communique said that the entire station area was sanitised.
The train left at 1:20 pm and will reach Jharkhand at 9:30 am on Wednesday.
The railways hopes to run many more such special trains from Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Bathinda as per the request of the Punjab government with the consent of the destination state government, it said.
The Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner (DC) said more such trains will be running for Lucknow, Varanasi, Ayodhya, Gorakhpur, Prayagraj (Allahabad), Sultanpur, Katni (Madhya Pradesh), Jharkhand and others.
The city DC said that the administration has already made elaborate arrangements to facilitate the movement of migrants from Jalandhar.