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The Indian Railways reacted to the controversy over ‘stray trains’ by calling it “route rationalisation” of Shramik Specials, which are meant to ferry migrant workers back home.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan said the matter has been brought to PM’s attention, while Finance Minister Thomas Issac said ‘Railways wants to be super spreader’.
The chairman of the Railway Board said that 260 Shramik trains have operated every day on an average for the last four days, carrying 3 lakh passengers daily.
Officials say most trains are being run on just a few routes and all have been heading to just UP or Bihar, causing the congestion.
The state government said that district administrations are involved in relief & rehabilitation work and will be unable to receive special trains for few days.
A Shramik train was scheduled to depart from Bandra for Bihar at noon. However, several migrants said there was a rumour that two more trains were to set off later in the day.
This came after Home Ministry issued a standard operating procedure for the national transporter to run these trains to ferry migrants to their native places.
Home Minister Amit Shah and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal had accused opposition-ruled states of not allowing trains for migrant workers to enter their states.
Migrants say confusion was caused by lack of clarity over boarding buses that would ferry them to the railway station, officials say crowd wouldn’t listen.