Shramik special trains will not follow social distancing: Report

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on May 12, 2020 Published on May 12, 2020

Migrant workers wave from a special train as they return to their hometowns amid the coronavirus pandemic (File photo)   -  THE HINDU

The Centre has decided to run Shramik special trains with full capacity and will not follow the earlier norm of keeping the middle berth vacant in order to maintain social distancing, Times of India reported.

The Railways had ferried at least 6 lakh migrant workers, tourists and students back to their home state since the resumption of its services on May 1.

The number will likely shoot up in the coming weeks as the Railway Ministry has decided to forego the earlier norm of keeping the middle berth vacant especially in broad-body LHB coaches.


In a letter, cited in the TOI report, written by railway board joint director Ajay Pratap Singh to all general managers and chief secretaries, he mentioned: “All berths will be allotted to passengers.”

The railways have also decided to allow only three stoppages including the destination stop after consulting with states.

The earlier guidelines issued by the Railways directed to only run trains if they get at least 90 per cent bookings.

Commenting on the move, an official quoted in the TOI report, said that all interstate passengers were asymptomatic and hence, they can travel without maintaining social distance. Moreover, they have been sensitized about the deadly virus.

Another reason why the step has been taken is that migrants are desperate to go back home and it is better to go by rail than to walk up to their native village, the official added.

Published on May 12, 2020

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