The Indian Railways on Tuesday announced that it will 200 more passenger trains from June 1 and the online bookings for these trains will start soon.
“Apart from these Shramik Special trains, Indian Railways is going to run 200 additional time table trains daily from June 1, which will be non-air conditioned second class trains and booking of these trains will be available online. Information of trains will be made available soon,” the Indian Railways tweeted.
These 200 trains – all having only non-AC coaches – will be apart from the 15 trains which were started on key routes across the country from May 12. They are also expected to run in full capacity like the 15 trains running currently. In Shramik trains, running for migrant workers, only 54 passengers are allowed instead of the available 72 seats.
Over the last few weeks, the Centre has alleged that some states like West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, which have a significant migrant population in other states were not giving permission for migrant trains resulting in lakhs of them walking towards their homes hundreds of kilometers away.
A total of 30 train journeys – 15 pairs of return trips – are already running from New Delhi to Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi.
The tickets will only be available on the IRCTC official website. The tickets have details of the ‘dos and don’ts’ passengers need to follow — such as arriving at the station at least an hour in advance for screening and other coronavirus protocols, mandatory use of masks and use of the Aarogya Setu mobile app.
Only passengers with valid confirmed tickets will be allowed to enter railway stations. It will be mandatory for passengers to wear face cover and undergo screening at departure and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the trains.
The railways had hinted at the move last week, saying it would begin issuing waitlisted tickets from May 22 which apply not just to the 15 existing trains, but also “those that will be notified in due course of time”.
The Indian Railways on Tuesday said that it has operated 1,595 ‘Shramik Special’ trains since May 1 and ferried over 21 lakh migrants back home. The Railways also said it no longer needed the consent of the destination states to operate such trains after the central government issued a standard operating procedure (SOP), which said that for running ‘Shramik Special’ trains, permission will be given by the Ministry of Railways in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).