Stranded citizens across the nation have finally found a big relief as the Indian Railways and govt. of India decided to run multiple special trains across different states carrying them to their respective destinations. Earlier, the Ministry of Home & Family Welfare had run 5 trains as a pilot travel option to see the movement arrangements across the nation. Now, keeping in mind the growing demands of movement and also the extension of ongoing lockdown, Indian Railways has planned to run over 265 special trains to ferry over 3 lakh stranded workers.
MHA Joint Secretary, Punya Salila Srivastava said the government’s efforts have been to give maximum relaxations to people within the lockdown guidelines. As part of this endeavour, the government has started special trains to ferry stranded migrant labourers, students, pilgrims and tourists to their native places, she said, adding that 222 trains have so far carried over 2.5 lakh people. She said the next step is to bring back Indians stranded abroad in a phased manner which started on Thursday using non-scheduled commercial flights and naval ships.
The INS Jalashwa will begin its journey from Maldives with 700 passengers on Friday and will reach Kochi on May 10 night, she said. A flight from Singapore with over 250 passengers and five more evacuation flights will land on Friday, she said. Flights from Abu Dhabi to Kochi and Dubai to Kozhikode with 354 passengers have reached on Thursday, she said.
Here’s the official tweet from Railway Minister:
रेलवे द्वारा अभी तक 265 से अधिक श्रमिक स्पेशल ट्रेनों का संचालन कर 3 लाख से अधिक नागरिको को उनके घर पहुँचाया गया है।
यात्रा में श्रमिकों को संक्रमण से बचाने के लिए उनकी स्क्रीनिंग, सोशल डिस्टेंसिंग जैसी सावधानियां बरतने के साथ ही भोजन व अन्य सुविधाएं भी उपलब्ध कराई गई हैं। pic.twitter.com/J6bnJNd8lL
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) May 8, 2020
An Inter Ministerial Coordination Committee comprising officials from the ministries of Health, External Affairs, Home Affairs and Civil Aviation, and Armed Forces and Air India has been constituted to implement the standard operating procedure (SOP) for evacuation of stranded people to and from India. This committee will coordinate with state governments.
- “All stranded Indians can get registered at respective missions. The travellers will be screened before boarding and only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed”.
- Pregnant women, students, those with their visa expiring soon, and people facing medical emergencies will be given preference on these flights. Before embarking on a flight, they will have to give an undertaking that they will be in compulsory institutional quarantine for 14 days on their own expense.
- The evacuees will have to register on Arogya Setu app and will undergo compulsory medical testing for COVID-19 upon arrival. If found positive for COVID-19, they will be taken to medical quarantine while the rest will undergo compulsory institutional quarantine for 14 days. A COVID-19 test will again be conducted after completion of 14 days institutional quarantine period, and the results will help decide further course of action as per medical protocol.
- The arrangements for institutional quarantines will be made by respective states and union territories and they will be provided with a list of arriving passengers by the Ministry of External Affairs.
Railrecipe encourage Indian citizens to practice strict social distancing norms during such travel and also wear masks to avoid any susceptibility to COVID-19 infection.