GUWAHATI, May 13 - After a long gap of over a month and a half, the first passenger train, New Delhi-Dibrugarh Passenger Special, arrived in the State today carrying several hundred people.
Meanwhile, the first Shramik Special train, specifically run to cater to the needs of the stranded people, left Chennai this evening for Guwahati and will reach the city on May 15.
The New Delhi-Dibrugarh Passenger Special, which had departed from New Delhi yesterday, arrived at Kokrajhar at 7:22 pm. After halting at Kokrajhar for two minutes, the super fast train continued its journey and arrived at the Guwahati railway station around 10 pm.
Around 80 passengers got off the train at Guwahati, while 29 disembarked at Kokrajhar. Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma received the passengers at the Guwahati station.
An official source told The Assam Tribune that passengers on board the train hail from Darrang, Kamrup, Nalbari, Goalpara, Morigaon, Udalguri, Sonitpur, Baksa, Barpeta and Kamrup (Metro) districts.
�All the passengers were taken to the Sarusajai stadium for COVID-19 screening under the supervision of Kamrup (Metro) district administration. Once the screening is done, they will be sent to their home districts where they will be quarantined. The passengers belonging to Kamrup (Metro) district will be quarantine at the Sarusajai stadium and hotels in the city,� the source stated.
After a brief halt at Guwahati, the train left for Dibrugarh, where it is scheduled to reach at 7 am tomorrow.
There are 20 coaches in the train, including power van and brake van.
�We have made adequate arrangements at the Guwahati railway station as well as the other stations of Assam where the train will halt. All those who board or de-board from the train will have to adhere to social distancing norms. Circles have been drawn at the floor of the platform number one at the Guwahati station to ensure that people stand in queues while de-boarding from the train and proceeding towards the health screening camp which has been set up. Similar measures have been taken at the other stations as well,� said Nripen Bhattacharya, Public Relations Officer of Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR).
Medical staff from the State Health department, all fitted with PPE kits, were positioned at the station for conducting screening of passengers at the Guwahati station. Only one exit point was kept open.
With passenger train services suspended since the imposition of the nationwide lockdown, those who managed to book tickets for the New Delhi-Dibrugarh Passenger Special expressed happiness on being able to make the journey on the first train to reach the State in over a month and half.
�I had gone to Patna in March with my brother, who had to get some treatment at hospital there. However, we got stuck there due to imposition of the lockdown. I am glad that we are finally able to return,� said Ratul Borah of Lakhimpur district.
Borah and his brother boarded the train at Barauni Junction and have booked themselves for journey up to Dibrugarh. Another passenger, Bikash Das of Sonari had gone to Darbhanga in Bihar for some work in March where he got stranded due to the lockdown.
�I am really happy to be able to come back and I am fortunate that I was able to get a ticket in this train,� said Das, who is travelling alone. He also boarded the train at Barauni Junction and is travelling till Dibrugarh.
Meanwhile, another New Delhi-Dibrugarh Passenger Special train left from New Delhi today.
The Railways has made it mandatory for all passengers to wear mask and undergo thermal screening before entering stations. Only asymptomatic passengers are allowed to board the Passenger Special trains.