New Delhi, May 18 (PTI) Bihar has committed to permitting 50 'Shramik Special' trains per day, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said on Monday, amid a growing scare in the state of coronavirus infections among the past returnees.
The state, having received over three lakh migrants since the Railways resumed operations on May 1, with more than 50,000 people currently in transit, observed a rise in the number of coronavirus cases after the 'Shramik Special' trains began arriving.
'I am very happy to inform that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and I had a fruitful discussion about the migrant workers of Bihar and he has given permission to run 50 Shramik Special trains per day to take them home,' Goyal tweeted in Hindi.
Officials, however, said 50 trains per day were not enough to ferry around 40 lakh migrants of the state stranded across the country.
'In reality, the state needs to run 200 per day to carry its migrants home,' an official said.
Bihar is, however, only behind Uttar Pradesh in giving approvals for 'Shramik Special' trains. There has been a spurt in COVID-19 cases in Bihar since the beginning of this month when the return of migrants gained momentum with the plying of the trains.
As of May 16, around 2.5 lakh people have returned to the state by train since May 4 and the number of migrants who have tested positive for COVID-19 stands at 358, the state Health Department said.
Bihar has reported 1,012 coronavirus cases so far, of whom seven have died.
The state has an estimated 40-45 lakh migrant population working across several states, though there is no definite statistics on it. PTI ASG IJT