Sources said though railways had worked out a ballpark figure of about 30 lakh stranded migrants who needed trains to return to their home states, now it seems the numbers are higher and the national transporter is ready to run 300 to 350 Shramik Special trains per day till there is demand. Railway minister Piyush Goyal said over 50% Shramik Specials (1,054) had reached Uttar Pradesh and over 25% (562) terminated in Bihar.
Goyal said Gujarat had sent 636 Shramik Specials, which was the maximum among all sending states, while lauding UP and Gujarat chief ministers. He alleged that some states including West Bengal, Rajasthan and Jharkhand were not cooperating in accelerating migrants return through trains.
Details from Maharashtra show that nearly five lakh out of the 20 lakh stranded migrants registered with the state authorities had taken these special trains to return to their native place. According to sources in Mumbai police, more than two lakh out of the 3.5 lakh migrants registered with them had left the city in such trains indicating a large number from other centres in the state were still waiting their turn.
Delhi has registered nearly four lakh stranded migrants who want to go back home, but around 65,000 had been able to leave as of Wednesday.
In the case of Karnataka, nearly 7.88 lakh stranded migrants have registered and till Wednesday nearly 1.6 lakh had gone back by the special trains. However, there are also indications that a section of the registered people may stay back as construction work has resumed, sources said.
Even sources in railway ministry feel the demand for the SS trains may reduce as economic activities restart quickly across urban areas.
Details from Haryana show while 10.93 lakh persons had registered to go to their home state, nearly 2.08 lakh had left from the state by 53 trains and 4,257 buses till Wednesday. Out of the 1.76 lakh who wanted to come back from their home states once work resumed, only 11,000 had returned to Haryana.
In the case of Punjab, 17.19 lakh had registered to go back and till Wednesday 2.7 lakh had boarded 236 trains from the state. Data of passengers who are availing bus services was not readily available.
There there is no consolidated data of how many want to go home from Kerala. A study conducted by Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation (GIFT) had estimated there are 25 lakh migrant workers in the state. So far 42 special trains have ferried around 65,000 passengers.
In the case of Rajasthan, nearly 1 lakh migrant workers had left by 78 trains till Thursday. “Now we have 45,000 stranded labourers for whom we are arranging at least 36 more trains,” said Ravi Jain, commissioner transport. Rajasthan has also started Shramik Special buses for the migrant workers for intra-state movement.
(With inputs from Manthan Mehta in Mumbai, Rakesh Prakash in Bengaluru & Ashish Mehta from Jaipur)