Karnataka to restart trains for migrants from Friday

South India

The decision came in the wake of strong protests from migrant workers and criticism from opposition parties, trade union leaders and human rights activists. The home department felt the decision to cancel the trains may trigger labour unrest.

With protests mounting against its decision to retain migrant workers in the state by cancelling all trains ferrying them to their hometowns, the Karnataka government has done a U-turn and has decided to restart trains from Friday.

Quoting sources, The Hindu reported that a decision in this regard was taken by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Thursday morning following an internal assessment by the Home Department that labour unrest may go out of hand if trains are not restarted.

The decision to cancel the trains was taken on the request of Real Estate Developers, which promised to pay wages to the migrant workers for the lockdown period and offered to extend more facilities to them if they stay in the state.

N. Manjunath Prasad, nodal officer for inter-state travel, has written to the Railways seeking a total of 13 trains to various States from May 8 to May 15.  The state government has also written to nodal officers of various states, asking for consent to operate trains to their states, as per the MHA guideline.

The letters have gone to Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, West Bengal and Rajasthan governments seeking their consent to operate trains to their states from 8 to15 May for transportation of people stranded in Karnataka.

The Seva Sindhu platform has 2.13 lakh persons registered to go out of the State, of which just over 8,000 had left on eight trains. With each train able to carry 1,021 passengers due to social distancing, the 13 trains now requisitioned will be able to carry another 13,000 persons, still leaving behind lakhs of migrants with no reliable transport.

“The State government is ready to run as many trains as needed for anyone who wants to leave go. But trains can be organised only after the receiving State consents, which is not easy to come by. There are logistics issues in these States due to return of so many migrants. We will strive to organise more trains," Manjunath Prasad was quoted by Hindu as saying.

Karnataka govt decides to restart trains for stranded migrants

Reports on Thursday said that the Karnataka government has decided to restart the operation of special trains for stranded migrants to return to their native states, after the BS Yediyurappa government faced criticism over its refusal to allow migrants to leave the state (with inputs from agencies)

Image Credit: The Hindu


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