State’s permission not required for Shramik Special trains anymore, India

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State’s permission not required for Shramik Special trains anymore

In a major development, the Central government has stated that consent of the receiving states won’t be necessary for Shramik Special trains. The Indian Railways introduced a new set of guidelines for the trains ferrying migrants to their home states. Before this, the Railways had to seek the destination state’s permission, which would waste time and effort.

Railway spokesperson Rajesh Bajpai said, “Consent of terminating state not necessary to run Shramik Special trains”.

According to the latest Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), the permission of movement for Shramik Special trains shall now be permitted by the Ministry of Railways (MoR) in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The revised guidelines will allow railways to ferry lakhs of stranded migrants to their homes. These migrants, mostly labourers, are suffering every day as the COVID-19 lockdown has left them jobless, homeless and hungry. Thousands of migrants with kids even started walking and cycling back home, trying to cover hundreds and thousands of kilometres, as transportation was shut down completely.

Considering their condition, the Centre decided to run Shramik Special trains so that these people could reach their destination. According to the Indian Railways, more than 1600 Shramik Specia’ trains have operated since May 1 and ferried over 21.5 lakh migrants to their hometowns till now.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, in a tweet, requested migrants to stay where they are and assured them help. He said, “Within the next 2 days Indian Railways will double the number of Shramik Special Trains to 400 per day. All migrants are requested to stay where they are, Indian Railways will get them back home over the next few days.”

Apparently, there has been a tug going on between the Centre and State governments as West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan (having major migrant populations) were not allowing special trains to enter because of which migrants were suffering.

What states need to do now?

As per the new SOP, states will have to make all the required arrangements for receiving and sending stranded people. The SOP says, “The train schedule including stoppages and destination shall be finalized by MoR based on the requirements of States/UTs and shall be communicated to the States/UTs for making special arrangements for sending and receiving such stranded workers,”

All these measures are being taken by the central government to help the migrants stranded in other cities, away from their homes.

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