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Occupancy in Trains from Migrant Heavy States to Cities 100 Percent; Signs of Recovery, Says Railways

File photo: A police officer uses a megaphone to urge people to maintain safe distance upon disembarking from the train that arrived from the southern state of Tamil Nadu after a limited reopening of India's giant rail network following a nearly seven-week lockdown to slow the spreading of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Howrah Junction railway station on the outskirts of Kolkata, India, May 12, 2020. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

File photo: A police officer uses a megaphone to urge people to maintain safe distance upon disembarking from the train that arrived from the southern state of Tamil Nadu after a limited reopening of India's giant rail network following a nearly seven-week lockdown to slow the spreading of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Howrah Junction railway station on the outskirts of Kolkata, India, May 12, 2020. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

These three states together accounted for 81 percent of the 4,594 Sharmik Special trains that have been operated so far since May 1.

  • PTI New Delhi
  • Last Updated: June 26, 2020, 8:43 PM IST
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Most special trains from migrant rich states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal towards cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bangalore are scheduled to run on 100 per cent occupancy over the next four days, the Railways said Friday, adding that it was a sign of economic revival.

These three states together accounted for 81 percent of the 4,594 Sharmik Special trains that have been operated so far since May 1.

In an online briefing on Friday, Railway Board Chairperson VK Yadav said the migrant workers who are returning to the cities are doing so in the regular trains that are being run by the Railways since June 1.

The railways is running 100 pairs of mail/express trains from June 1 and 15 pairs of air-conditioned trains on the Rajdhani routes.

"It is very encouraging to note that some of the trains which are moving in reverse direction -- trains from UP to Mumbai, Bihar to Mumbai or UP to Gujarat or West Bengal to Gujarat showing increase in occupancy day by day. This is an indicator that the economic situation is picking up. We are talking to state governments and in the coming week we will announce new special trains based on occupancy," said Yadav.

Most trains originating in Bihar and going towards Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad have high occupancy, according to data provided by railways.

Among the trains from Bihar, the Muzaffarpur-Bandra terminal special has an occupancy of 115 percent in the next four days, the Danapur-Secunderabad special has an occupancy of 121 per cent and the Muzzafarpur-Ahmedabad special train of 127 per cent.

Bihar was the destination state for 37 per cent of the total Shramik Special trains run so far, second only to UP which accounted for 38 per cent of these trains.

Similarly, Uttar Pradesh which has received 1,723 Shramik Special trains so far is also seeing migrant workers returning to their workplaces.

Trains like the Kushinagar Express from Gorakhpur to Mumbai has an occupancy rate of more than 100 per cent till June 30, the Avadh special train from Gorakhpur to Bandra terminal has an occupancy of 121 per cent and the Gorakhpur-Ahmedabad special has an occupancy of 121 per cent, again indicating that migration back to workplaces is underway.

West Bengal, another state with a high number of migrant workers, which has so far received 6 per cent or just 282 Shramik special trains so far, is also seeing people moving back to the workplace in other states.

Trains from Howrah to Delhi, Ahmedabad, Jodhpur, Secunderabad are all running on full occupancy, according to the data.

Lakhs of workers had left cities, many on foot, during the lockdown which was enforced from March 25 to fight the coronavirus crisis. Many died on the way, and those who survived were left jobless and without any resources to return home.

It was on May 1 that the government allowed the Railways to run the Shramik Special trains which are still in service. So far, the Railways has ferried more than 62 lakh migrant workers home.

As of June 26, Yadav said out of the 230 special trains in service 43 trains had 75-100 per cent occupancy, 27 trains had 50-75 percent occupancy and 78 trains had occupancy of 100 per cent of more.

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