New Delhi: The Railways has said it has run 76 Shramik Special trains since May 1, carrying over 70,000 migrant labourers stranded due to the countrywide lockdown to their homes states. Till May 4, the Railways had run 55 trains, the national transporter said, adding that on May 5, 12 trains started their journeys in the morning and nine in the evening, taking the tally to 76. Also Read - Delhi Airport Gears up as Domestic Flights Resume Today; No Quarantine For Asymptomatic Passengers
“Zones have planned 12 more trains. But the start of their journey might spill over to tomorrow,” a railway official said. Also Read - 'Work Comes First', Says Flight Crew as India Takes to The Skies Again; COVID-19 Tally Surpasses 1.31 Lakh Mark; Death Toll Nears 4,000
Gujarat was the originating station for around 35 of these trains, followed by Kerala with 13. Also Read - Maharashtra Cabinet Minister And Former CM Ashok Chavan Tests Positive For COVID-19
Among the receiving states, Bihar has accepted 13 trains, with 11 more currently on the journey and six in the pipeline, data accessed by PTI shows.
Neighbouring Uttar Pradesh has received 10 such trains and five more are on their way with 12 in the pipeline, the data shows.
The West Bengal government has, however, given clearance to only two trains — one each from Rajasthan and Kerala— and they are on their journeys to the state.
Jharkhand has accepted four trains, while five are on their way to the state. Two more Shramik Special trains are in the pipeline.
Odisha has received seven trains and five are on their way to the state, with one more in the pipeline, the data shows.
These 24 coach trains, which have a capacity of 72 seats, is now reduced to 54 due to social distancing norms with the middle seat not being allotted to any passenger.
While the Railways has officially not stated how much it has spent so far on these services, which the government says will be shared between the Centre and state in 85:15 ratio, officials indicated that around Rs 50 crore has been incurred on 67 trains operated till Tuesday morning.
Sources said that the Railways is spending around Rs 80 lakh per service for the Shramik Special trains.
Earlier, the Railways drew a lot of flak from opposition parties for making these services chargeable.
In its guidelines, the Railways had said the trains will ply only if they have 90 per cent occupancy and the “states should collect the ticket fare”.