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MHA okays ‘Shramik Special trains’ for migrants

On the occasion of Labour Day (on May 1), the government has decided to run “Shramik Special” trains to transport migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stuck across the country due to the lockdown triggered by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.

Migrant workers, students and others stranded in different parts of the country are allowed to return home by special trains that will be run by the Indian Railways, the Union home ministry said on Friday, expanding the scope of an earlier order that said such transportation can happen only by buses.

The railways ministry will designate nodal officers for coordination with states and Union Territories, the home ministry order said. And soon after, the railways ministry released detailed guidelines on the social-distancing norms to be followed at stations and inside trains. Guidelines on the sale of tickets are expected soon.

On the occasion of Labour Day (on May 1), the government has decided to run “Shramik Special” trains to transport migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stuck across the country due to the lockdown triggered by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, the railways ministry said.

“These special trains will be run from point to point on the request of both the concerned state governments (those sending and receiving the passengers) as per the standard protocols…The Railways and State Governments shall appoint senior officials as Nodal Officers for coordination…,” the ministry said.

Passengers will have to be screened by states sending them, and those found with no symptoms of Covid-19 will be allowed to travel. These people will have to be brought to railway stations in batches in sanitised buses. Social-distancing norms have to be followed and all passengers will have to use face covers, or masks.

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