Even at full capacity, it will take 5 plus mnths to ferry migrants home
New Delhi: Even if the Ministry of Railways operates all Shramik Special Trains at 100 per cent capacity, it is expected to take more than four months to make sure all migrant workers reach their respective home states, according to data provided by Central government authorities themselves.
As per a government statement, the Indian Railways had operated 1,157 Shramik Special Trains from May 1 to May 16, transporting a total of over 15 lakh migrant workers back home. As per these figures, an average of 1,300 migrant workers are being transported in each of these trains. The Finance Minister had revealed that there were around 8 crore migrant workers in the country. Even if half of them wanted to go back to their home states, with 1,300 migrant workers on each train and the Railways running at full capacity, which is a practical impossibility, it would take over 3.4 months to make sure all of them reached home.
In fact, the Railways have said that they can increase capacity to 1,700 migrants per train. Even considering that number, it would take over two and half months to transport half of the migrant workers in the country. And considering that all 8 crore want to return, even with increased capacity, it would take over five months.
As a result, migrants may just need to for another month or so despite having faced the brunt of the lockdown in the last two months.
However, stranded migrant workers have no patience left. Jia Lal (52), a labourer working in Timarpur finally gave up after waiting for two months without a job, salary or rations and started walking home to Mahoba in UP with his family of 10 on Sunday morning. "How many more days can we live on charity. Have worked all my life and cannot wait longer," he said as his family walked past Central Delhi, trying to get to the Delhi-UP border.
Laltu Kumar (23), a factory worker, who has been walking from Haryana also finally gave up hope to catch a train from Delhi, even after having registered to board a Shramik Special Train five days ago. Part of a group of workers from Haryana, they decided to take the risk and walk to Bihar on Sunday after repeatedly being turned away from the railway station.