Shramik Trains: Over 140 run so far, more than 1.35 lakh ferried

New Delhi, May 6 (PTI) The Railways on Wednesday said it has run over 140 Shramik Special trains since May 1 and ferried home over 1.35 lakh migrants stranded in various parts of the country due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown.

Railways which had initially planned 42 trains for Wednesday managed to run 10 more by 9:30 pm.

'We are planning to run some more trains by the end of the day,' a railway spokesperson said.

Till Tuesday night, the national transporter had run 88 trains for the migrant workers who were stranded at their workplaces due to the lockdown and wishing to go back to their homes.

Every special train has 24 coaches, each with a capacity of 72 seats. But the national transporter is allowing only 54 people in a coach to maintain social distancing norms by not allotting the middle berth to any passenger.

The Karnataka government on Tuesday had cancelled 10 trains from the state which were planned over the next five days. However, it said three trains would depart from Bengaluru for Bihar as planned.

While the Railways has officially not stated how much it has spent so far on these services, the cost for which the government says has been shared on an 85:15 ratio with states, officials indicated that the national transporter has spent around Rs 80 lakh per service.

Since the beginning of the services, Gujarat remained one of the top originating stations, followed by Kerala.

Among the receiving states, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh remained the top states.

Earlier, the railways drew flak from opposition parties for making these services chargeable.

In its guidelines, the railways has said the trains will ply only if they have 90 percent occupancy and the 'states should collect the ticket fare'. PTI ASG RDM RDM