2 Karnataka special trains chug 2,898 migrants to Bengal

The South Western Railway (SWR) zone has chugged 2,898 migrants home to New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal in two Shramik special trains, an official said on Thursday.

“First Shramik special train from SWR on Thursday left Hassan for New Jalpaiguri at 1.20 p.m. with 1,298 passengers,” said a SWR official.

The Karnataka government provided one ‘vegetable pulao’ packet each to the passengers while the railway zone chipped in with two buns, two bananas and a litre of water to each of the travellers.

The next meal was scheduled to be served at Ballari.

“The second Shramik special train from SWR on Thursday left KSR Bengaluru to New Jalpaiguri at 6.20 p.m. with 1,600 passengers,” said the official.

Since many passengers on the trains were with children, volunteers have distributed them with slippers, toys, painting books, crayons and chikki.

“Spreading smiles: Railways launches ‘Operation Khushi’ in Bengaluru to facilitate a smooth journey and bring joy to the children travelling by distributing slippers, toys, books and colour pencils,” tweeted Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

For the migrants in the second train, the state government supplied four chapatis (Indian bread), pickle, rice bath and two water bottles each.

Similarly, the Shrimad Rajachandra Mission provided four masala chapatis with an accompanied of pickle to each of the passengers.

Manav Charities donated one rice bath packet to each of them.

Likewise, Compassion in Action supplied two buns, one butter milk packet and a biscuit packet each to the departing migrants.

For dinner, all the first special train passengers received a vegetable pulao packet with an accompaniment of pickle and two litres of water at Ballari.

Meanwhile, on the advisory of the state nodal officer, the railway zone has cancelled seven special trains on Tuesday and nine on Wednesday.

“Nodal officer of the state government advises the railways a day before about the requirement,” added the official.

Incidentally, the number of migrant trains and passengers have diminished in numbers significantly in the past 3-4 days.

From more than 10 trains and more than 10,000 migrants a day on an average, the trains have plummeted to below five with less than 5,000 migrants returning home.

The special trains are being run following the Ministry of Home Affairs’ permission for the movement of stranded migrant labourers, workers, students, tourists and others amid the Covid lockdown.

Since May 3 to Wednesday, the railway zone has operated 167 special trains to chug 2.39 lakh migrants home to mostly Odisha, Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal and some northeastern states.

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