Fifty-four migrant workers from Bihar, who were stranded in Telangana, have left for their natives by trains on Wednesday following the intervention by the High Court. On Tuesday, the High Court asked the South Central Railway (SCR) to arrange seats for these migrant workers in the regular passenger trains as the services of special Shramik trains, which were free of cost, were stopped in the state.
Following the High Court’s order, the SCR arranged seats for these workers under the Emergency Quota (EQ). The ticket expenses were borne by the Telangana government.
Speaking to TNM, advocate Vasudha Nagaraj, who is also part of the ‘Advocacy COVID lockdown collective’, a group working for the welfare of the migrant workers, said, “On Wednesday, 54 workers left for Bihar. The Secunderabad Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) managed to book them seats under the Emergency Quota and we could send them back to their home state.”
Though the services of Shramik trains have been terminated, many migrant workers, mostly from Bihar, have been living without any money and thronging the Secunderabad railway station every day. Taking note of this, the High Court had earlier asked the South Central Railway to add an extra bogey for the migrants. On Tuesday, the court was disappointed to learn that its suggestion was not implemented. The court told the DRM that they were expecting everything in its power to help the stranded migrants instead of “repeating verses from the rule book”.
However, the Secunderabad Divisional Railway Manager, Anand Bhatia, informed the court that the trains to Bihar and West Bengal have already been running with 24 bogeys, and adding an additional bogey would be a safety hazard.
Miffed by the DRM’s response, the bench of Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy asked SCR to make to add an extra bogey to the Delhi-bound trains, which only have 20 bogeys, and arrange another train from Delhi to Bihar. The DRM then suggested that they can provide seats to the migrants under EQ, to which the bench agreed.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, 40 more migrants from Bihar arrived at the temporary shelter. Vasudha Nagaraj said, “Though the crowd had decreased, many are still coming to the shelter and we are ensuring that they reach their homes.”
The SCR told the court that they would continue sending the migrants under EQ for some more time until everyone reaches their home.