From Hisar to Bihar: 1,200 migrants leave for their hometowns in Shramik Special train
Haryana CM Khattar interacts with a labourer via video call, sends his regards
A Shramik Special train, first from Haryana, left Hisar with 1,200 odd migrant labourers for Bihar’s Katihar on Wednesday afternoon.
Heavy police force was deployed to ensure adherence to social-distancing measures and maintenance of law and order at the Hisar railway station.
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar reviewed arrangements and interacted with a migrant labourer, Makhan Sharma, telling him that all his travel expenses had been taken care of, including provision of one-time meal.
“If someone had sought money from you for this journey, let me know. We are not charging anything from the people who came to Haryana in search of work. The government is committed to ensuring their safe return,” he said.
“Ghar me sabhi ko mera Ram Ram bolna (Convey my regards to everyone at home),” Khattar told the labourer while signing off.
Hisar station superintendent KL Chaudhary said the train was disinfected before the passengers were allowed to board it.
The 24-coach train was divided into seven segments and passengers were allotted seats as per their districts.
“This train will not stop anywhere before Katihar in Bihar. Another train will leave on Thursday for Muzaffarpur in Bihar from here. The train will take 24 hours to reach its destination, which may differ according to the line clearance,” Chaudhary added.
Hisar deputy commissioner Priyanka Soni said, “All 1,200 migrant labourers were screened by health department officials before leaving. No money was charged from them for their travel. We had also arranged water and food for them.”
Local social workers also came forward and provided food, masks and hand sanitisers to the passengers. One such worker, Krishan Satrodiya, said, “We distributed cooked food to the labourers besides sanitiser and masks so that they can stay safe during the journey.”
Bhiwani-Gaya train cancelled
Another Shramik Special train scheduled to take stranded labourers from Bhiwani on Thursday to Bihar’s Gaya has been cancelled. Bhiwani DC Ajay Kumar said the special train, which was to depart from Bhiwani to Gaya, will be rescheduled soon.
“At least 5,000 labourers, including 2,000 from Bihar and as many from Uttar Pradesh, are staying in the district. Initially, labourers were demanding to return, but after some industries and other works resumed, many of them decided to stay,” he added.
He said after cancellation of train, the administration has decided to send labourers to Hisar and Ambala in buses on Thursday, from where they can proceed to their native towns and villages.
“Trains will leave from Hisar and Ambala for Katihar. We will send labourers to these cities as per the seat availability. We have sanitised the buses and social-distancing steps will be followed while transporting them to Hisar and Ambala,” Kumar added.
‘We will come back’
Manoj Yadav and Virender Yadav of Madhepura in Bihar said they came to know about the trains from residents of Ladwi, where they had been working. “We were asked to undergo a medical examination. After that, railway officials gave us tickets for which we did not pay any money. We are very happy to return home. We will come back after the pandemic ends. We thank the Haryana government for arranging food and trains for us,” they said.
Another such migrant, Mohammad Yusuf, said he belonged to Katihar and was working in Adampur.
“The villagers told me about the train and I got myself registered with the local administration and finally, I am going back,” he added.