Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal has called upon states to cooperate with Centre so that all the stranded migrant workers in different parts of the country could return to their homes in the next “3-4 days itself.”
Goyal tweeted on Sunday that the Indian Railways was fully prepared to operate 300 Shramik Special trains on daily basis at short notice for the last six days.
The Indian Railways has operated 350 Shramik Special trains since May 1 and ferried home more than 3.6 lakh migrants stranded in various parts of the country amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown, officials were quoted.
Every Shramik Special train has 24 coaches, each with a capacity of 72 seats. However, only 54 people are allowed in a coach to maintain social distancing norms and the middle berth is not allotted to any passenger.
While the railways have not yet announced the cost incurred on the special services, officials indicate the national transporter has spent around Rs 80 lakh per service. The government had earlier stated that the cost of the services has been shared on an 85:15 ratio with states.
Since the Shramik Special train service started, Gujarat has remained one of the top originating stations followed by Kerala. Among the receiving states, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh remain the top states. Earlier, the railways drew flak from opposition parties for charging for these services.