Demands for Shramik Special trains diminishing, says Railway Board Chairman

Demand for Shramik Special Trains that were introduced to take the migrant workers home has been diminishing, said Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav on Friday.

Addressing the media, Yadav said, “It appears that demand for these trains is declining from the originating state. 137 trains were flagged yesterday (Thursday) and 172 the day before (Wednesday). Demand for trains has been going down in the last two days”.

This number is substantially less than the number of trains that were running last week. On May 20, the number of trains running was 279, last week it was 250.

Since the lockdown was enforced on March 25, special trains carrying migrant workers started for the first time on May 1. These special trains have been carrying stranded migrant workers, students, tourists and pilgrims. As of May 28, Railways operated 3,840 special trains carrying 52 lakh passengers home.

Indian Railways has been drawing flak over the last few days due to the delay in the trains because of route congestion and inadequate supply of food and water for the passengers. Several reports of deaths of the passengers travelling on these trains have triggered concerns over the lack of basic necessities in this intense heat.

Yadav rubbished reports saying the trains were getting lost or taking over a week to reach the destination saying, “Don’t believe that trains are late by nine days. These trains are running faster than the speed of mail/express trains. Out of 3,840 trains, only 71 trains were diverted during 20-24 due to congestion. Trains were diverted to different routes…so that all trains can reach in time”.

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