Going ahead with its mandate to evacuate as many stranded passengers as possible, Indian Railways has run 3,543 Shramik Special trains until Wednesday morning across the country despite confronting operational challenges.
The missing link in proper coordination, planning and route map of Shramik Specials has come to the fore creating operational problems in running the much sought-after train service during the Covid-19 lockdown.
However, unperturbed by the happenings such as deaths onboard, lack of cooperation from certain states, congestion and diversion, the state-run transporter has ferried about 48 lakh passengers to their home states on Shramik Special trains in 26 days, a record achievement in the time of coronavirus pandemic.
According to the railways, 78 lakh free meals and more than 1.10 crore water bottles have been distributed to travelling migrants onboard though there are several complaints of catering mismanagement resulting in lack of food and water in the sweltering heat.
The public transporter operated 255 Shramik Specials on Wednesday (27 May) alone.
In addition to Shramik Specials, the railways is also running 15 pairs of Rajdhani-type AC special trains connecting New Delhi from 12 May, and planning to start 200 more time-tabled trains from June.
The operation of 200 more trains from June is expected to ease the rush to some extent as the airlines have also resumed operations now.
Apart from migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other people stranded at different places are also boarding Shramik Special trains form May Day.
These 3,543 trains were originated from various states. The top five states/UTs from where maximum trains originated are Gujarat (946), Maharashtra (677), Punjab (377), Uttar Pradesh (243) and Bihar (215).
The Shramik Special trains were terminated in various states across the country. The top five states where maximum trains terminated are Uttar Pradesh (1,392), Bihar (1,123), Jharkhand (156), Madhya Pradesh (119) and Odisha (123).
The railways has reiterated that trains running on Wednesday are not facing any congestion.
Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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