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No request yet to operate Shramik Special trains to or from NE

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, May 7 - No proposal has been received by the Indian Railways so far from any state to operate Shramik Special trains to or from the North East.

�As on today, there has been no request from any state government to operate Shramik Special trains to or from the North East,� a senior railway official told this newspaper.

He added that the request for operating Shramik Special train has to come from the �originating state�. �If people of Assam or North East are stuck in any other state, then that particular state has to first approach the Indian Railways. The originating state will have to approach us with the request to run such a train to, say, Assam. The originating state has to provide details, like the number of prospective passengers. We will provide trains only to the state from which the journey of the train will originate. Of course, the receiving state will also have to give its consent to allow the people to come. As such, for people belonging to Assam who are, for example, stuck in Karnataka or Kerala or Andhra Pradesh, the request for running a train to send those people back to Assam has to come from the state where those people are presently stuck,� said the official.

He said that these special trains are running from point to point on the request of both state governments concerned as per the standard protocol for sending and receiving such stranded persons. Only those persons enlisted by the state governments concerned and brought to the station can travel on these special trains and no individual shall come to any railway station on their own.

Regarding people of other states who are stuck in Assam and the other north-eastern states, he said, �There have been no requests from the governments of this region to run any Shramik Special train to send such people back to their home states.�

The official added that the railway authorities are, however, fully prepared to operate Shramik Special trains to and from the North East on a short notice in case request comes from any state of the country.

Indian Railways started services of Shramik Special trains from May 1 to move migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places due to the lockdown as per guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

In the NFR zone, Shramik Special trains have been operated to Katihar in Bihar to bring back people stranded in the southern states.

Cong appeal to PM: Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly Debabrata Saikia today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to facilitate return of people stuck in other states.

In a letter to Modi, the senior Congress leader said that the ongoing nationwide lockdown was declared by giving a notice of only four hours to the citizens of the country.

�As a result, many people who had planned their respective journeys by booking train, bus or air tickets got stranded all of a sudden. As the government is now planning to resume travel services and has already started Shramik Special trains, I request you to direct the Railway Minister, the Union Road Transport and Highway Minister and the Union Civil Aviation Minister to initiate steps for transportation of all passengers of all cancelled flights, trains, etc., who had booked tickets before the lockdown was suddenly announced on March 24 and which came into effect at midnight of the same day, on the basis of their previously-booked tickets,� Saikia stated.

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