New Delhi, May 23 (PTI) The Railways has ferried around 36 lakh migrant workers on board 2,600 'Shramik Special' trains since May 1, according to official data.
The Railways said also that over the next 10 days, it will operate 2,600 more trains ferrying 36 lakh more migrant workers home, Chairman Railway Board V K Yadav said.
The 'Shramik Special' trains are being operated primarily on the requests of the states, which want to send migrant workers to their home states.
The Railways is bearing 85 per cent of the total cost of running each of the trains while the rest is being borne by the states in the form of fares.
According to data with the Railways, Uttar Pradesh (1,246) has received the highest number of Shramik Special trains, followed by Bihar (804) and Jharkhand (124) and Madhya Pradesh (112).
Among the originating states, Gujarat (759) has used the most services to send migrant workers home, followed by Maharashtra (483) and Punjab (291).
The coronavirus-triggered lockdown has had a devastating impact on the economy as well as on the livelihoods of lakhs of migrant workers.
It shone the spotlight on the miseries of migrant workers whose journeys on foot from several urban centres to their villages hundreds of kilometres away had grabbed headlines for almost the last two months.
There were incidents of many of them being killed in road accidents. A number of migrant labourers were even killed by a speeding train after they fell asleep on the tracks.
On May 1, the Railways started the migrant special trains to facilitate the movement of such workers back to their home states.
While on the first day, four such trains were operated, it was escalated to 279 trains on May 20.
In the last four days, railways has operated 260 trains on an average daily carrying about 3 lakh passengers. PTI ASG KJ KJ