Coronavirus | Shramik Special train reaches Danapur with 1,174 migrants, students

Went through great difficulties as there was no work, food or money during lockdown, say labourers

Updated - May 02, 2020 09:51 pm IST

Published - May 02, 2020 05:05 pm IST - Patna

Stranded migrants from Rajasthan arrive by Shramik special train at Danapur station during lockdown imposed in the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, on Saturday, May 2, 2020

Stranded migrants from Rajasthan arrive by Shramik special train at Danapur station during lockdown imposed in the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, on Saturday, May 2, 2020

The first Bihar-bound Shramik Special train from Jaipur with 1,174 migrants on board reached the Danapur railway station, some 20 km from Patna, on Saturday.

A sense of relief was writ large on the weary faces of the migrants who reached their home State after 40-days of lockdown.

They hail from 28 districts but most of them are from the Rohtas district. They included labourers, students and pilgrims. They were taken to a local school near the station for lunch and to fill a form after thermal screening.

Most of the migrant labourers told journalists that they would prefer to work in their State itself, if provided opportunities.

Also read: Railways to run ‘Shramik Special’ trains to move migrant workers, other stranded persons

“For the last 40 days, we went through great difficulties as there was no work, food or money… no relief was given by the government there, but we got food from the railways during our journey,” said some migrants from the Purnea district who were working as cooks in Rajashthan.

A large number of officials, including the Patna district Magistrate and the SP, along with railway staff were present at the station to welcome the migrants.

Also read: Migrants’ return home will lead to fourth lockdown: Bihar BJP chief

Later, they will be taken to their respective districts in buses which are parked at the Jagjivan railway stadium near the station. All the buses were sanitised earlier. The Danapur railway station too was sprinkled with disinfectants.

“We must ensure that the quarantine centres have good food, shelter, sanitation and medical facilities. The isolation centres must be in place at block and panchayat levels. If needed, we shall set up more centres as the number of people returning could be huge,” Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said after a marathon six-hour meeting with officials on Friday.

The district authorities said no specials were slated to reach Bihar on Saturday but “some trains are ready to leave from other States in the coming days”.

From May 4 to 6, the specials will also leave from Jaipur with migrants and students.

Over 12,000 students from Bihar were said to be stuck in Kota in Rajasthan, where they had gone to take coaching classes for engineering and medical tests.

The State government has alerted all district administrations to make arrangements to quarantine the migrants for 21-days. “They will be asked to either quarantine themselves at the schools at the block level or at their homes,” said an official at the Danapur station.

Earlier, the State government had told the Centre that it would not be able to bring back over 27 lakh people by buses. It later asked for non-stop special trains.

Opposition party leaders had slammed the State government for not being able to make adequate arrangements for the migrants. Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and Leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Yadav had even offered 2,000 buses to the State government to bring them back.

Bihar has so far reported 478 COVID-19 positive cases with four deaths and 98 recoveries. The highest number of cases have been reported from Munger (95) followed by Rohtas (52), Buxar (51), Patna (44), Nalanda (36), Siwan (30) and Kaimur (24).

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