Delhi: Wait to cross the line gets longer | Delhi News


NEW DELHI: The queues of migrant workers, desperate to return home despite various economic activities getting a go-ahead in Lockdown 4.0, are only increasing with Delhi government demanding more Shramik Special trains from the Centre to send them back.
According to an estimate, more than 4.5 lakh people have registered themselves on the government portal, but only 1.5 lakh have so far taken the train.
CM Arvind Kejriwal last week asked the Centre to allot 262 trains to let Delhi government provide transport to all registered migrants. The government has so far got confirmation for just 130 trains, a source claimed.
As per the protocol, the registered migrants get a message on their mobile phones about the date and time of the departure and are advised to report to the nearest screening centre that morning. After thermal screening, they are transported to the railway station. However, extraordinary rush and unavailability of trains are often resulting in endless wait for the migrants at screening centres.
The capital’s 11 districts have 30 screening centres. “Though we send messages to as many applicants who can be accommodated on trains that are leaving on that particular day, the number of people who actually report at the screening centres are much higher,” said a government official.
“Most migrants live in groups in congested localities. Sometimes, one or two persons who had applied online get the message, but several others also join them without having applied online. That’s one of the biggest reasons behind the huge, and sometimes unmanageable, rush,” said another official.
While a limited number of people as per the availability of seats and trains are taken to the station in special DTC buses, the rest are moved to shelter homes.
Some senior government officials have suggested that the railways should allow the migrants to book tickets directly with IRCTC, and even screen them. This, according to the officials, will not only assure the applicants of a seat in the train but also save Delhi government the hazard of running screening centres, which can become potential Covid hotspots.
“We have limited numbers of toilet blocks at each centre while hundreds of people use them. If even one is infected, the virus can spread,” said an official. “We are sometimes forced to shift some migrants to shelter homes for the night and provide them trains the next day. Even if we manage to maintain social distancing while arranging their mattresses, they again use limited numbers of toilets the next day. This system should be done away with,” one of them said.
Of the 1.5 lakh applicants who have gone home, over 1.3 lakh belonged to Bihar and UP, and the rest to West Bengal, Odisha, Chhatisgarh, MP, Rajasthan and Punjab. Delhi government has also sent a number of migrants, including students, to several states such as Manipur, Assam, Punjab and Ladakh by buses arranged by the respective governments.

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