New Delhi: The Ministry of Railways on Monday modified guidelines for trains transporting migrant workers back to their home states, stating, among other things, that the trains should have three stoppages in the destination state besides the final station. Also Read - Nearly 8,000 COVID-19 Cases in Last 24 Hours Take India's Tally Past 1.70 Lakh; Death Toll Nears 5,000 | Key Points
As per the revised guidelines, the capacity of the trains-called ‘Shramik Special’-should be equal to the total number of sleeper berths in the train. This means that trains can now operate with middle berths being occupied as well.
Thus, the capacity of each train will now increase from the current nearly 1,300 to more than 1,700. The trains have 24 coaches which have a capacity of 72 passengers each but are currently carrying 54 passengers in each coach due to occupancy not being allowed on middle berths.
This was done to ensure compliance with social distancing norms.
Notably, ‘Shramik Special’ trains were announced on May 1 after repeated requests by states for special trains to send migrants home. Two days earlier, the Centre had approved interstate movement of migrants in government buses.
These trains, of which over 400 have been operated thus far, have transported over five lakh migrants to their native places.