Shubham Jaiswal ([email protected])
The Indian Railways has decided to charge for tickets for operating special trains for stranded migrant workers amid coronavirus lockdown. The fare includes the price of regular sleeper class tickets plus superfast charges of Rs 30 and an additional charge of Rs 20. This includes meals and drinking water for long-distance trains. State governments will coordinate and can pay on passengers’ behalf, the ministry clarified.
The Centre on Friday gave its nod for migrant workers, students, and others stranded in different parts of the country to return home by special trains that will run by the Indian Railways, expanding the scope of an earlier order that said such transportation can happen only by the buses.
On the occasion of Labour Day on May 1, the government decided to run, “Shramik Special” trains transporting migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students, and others stuck across the country due to the lockdown triggered by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, the ministry said. The ministry will designate nodal officers to coordinate with states and Union territories, the Home Ministry said. Soon after, the railways ministry released detailed guidelines on social-distancing norms to be followed at stations and inside the trains. The guidelines on the sale of tickets are expected soon.
The railways said six special trains had been scheduled to run on Friday as per the demands received from various state governments. The scheduled trains on Friday are Lingampally, Telangana to Hatia, Jharkhand; Aluva, Kerala to Bhubaneswar, Odisha; Nasik, Maharashtra to Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh; Nasik to Bhopal, Jaipur to Patna and Kota to Hatia.
State officials in Kota, Rajasthan issued an instruction that said that students needed to carry to identity cards and seats will be allotted on a first-come-first-serve basis. Messages from the district magistrate allowing travel will be considered as a valid ticket.