Facing flak over cancellation of trains to other States, the Karnataka government on Thursday did a U-turn and decided to restart trains for migrant workers to nine States from Friday. The first Shramik Special train will leave for Bihar, while consent from several other States is awaited.
A decision was taken by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Thursday morning, sources said, following outrage expressed by the Opposition and workers’ organisations. An internal assessment by the Home Department is said to have warned that labour unrest may go out of hand if trains are not restarted.
N. Manjunath Prasad, nodal officer for inter-state travel, has written to Indian Railways and governments of nine States - Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Odisha - requisitioning at least one train to these destinations everyday from May 8 to May 15.
The Karnataka Government has sought two special trains everyday to Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha, as most of the migrant workers here come from these States and make up the bulk of those registered on Seva Sindhu, a portal for travel out of the State. While the rest are yet to respond, Bihar government has approved only one train per day, as against two trains requested.
“The State government is ready to run as many trains as needed. But trains can be organised only after receiving consent from the States. There are logistics issues in these States due to return of so many migrants. We will strive to organise more trains,” Mr. Manjunath Prasad said.
He also said that to avoid confusion, like what prevailed in the last few days, officials will create awareness among the migrants on the procedure - a text message to their mobiles will confirm their tickets and inform them of the schedule of the trip and boarding station.