Pune: A Shramik Special train carrying around 1,200 passengers departed from Pune station for Lucknow on Saturday at 10 pm. The train had 24 sleeper coaches, including two luggage coaches.
As per the norms, the train will not stop at any station for passengers. It will reach Lucknow on Sunday at around 7.10 pm.
Earlier, it was decided that no ‘Shramik Special’ will be operated from Pune railway station, Shivajinagar or Hadapsar station.
However, Pune station was kept as the departure point for this train as migrants in Central Railways’ list belong to city area and coming to Pune station was much more convenient than going to Lonavla or Daund stations.
On Thursday, when the Pune division sent out a Shramik Special train for Madhya Pradesh’s Rewa from Uruli station, the plan was not publicised at all. The local administration and the police only informed the 1,170 persons who were to board the train.
Wary of being mobbed by anxious migrant workers stranded in Pune without any work since mid-March, the Central Railway (CR) had decided to operate ‘Shramik Special’ trains from suburban stations located outside main city area and maintain utmost secrecy about its operations to ensure that only migrants whose name is in the list get the train’s information and others don’t throng the station.
There are about 4,000 individuals from Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh who are stranded in Pune and want to return home. District Collector Naval Kishore Ram had earlier said that all future’ Sharmik Special’ trains will be operated from suburban stations like Daund, Lonavla and not from Pune railway station.
According to sources from Pune railway division, “A large number of passengers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are residing in Pune. The CR has received a list of passengers who want to go home and accordingly; a train departed from Pune to Lucknow.”
The Indian Railways has operated 302 ‘Shramik Special’ trains since May 1 and ferried home more than 3 lakh migrants stranded in various parts of the country amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown, officials said.
The national transporter has planned to operate 47 trains on Saturday, out of which 34 trains have already departed, they said.
While the railways have not yet announced the cost incurred on the special services, officials indicate the national transporter has spent around Rs 80 lakh per service.
Since the beginning of running the Shramik Special trains, Gujarat remained one of the top originating stations followed by Kerala.
Among the receiving states, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh remain the top States.