The first special train for migrants from Mumbai left Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) on Friday with 1,111 migrant workers on board. The train was bound for Basti in Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) and departed at 6.12 p.m.
The special trains which left Mumbai this week were from stations in the larger Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) such as Kalyan, Bhiwandi, Panvel and Vasai, none of which are starting points for long distance train under normal conditions. Friday’s train was the first to depart from an established railway terminal in the city.
According to railway officials, the migrant workers were brought to the stations in batches of 20 or 25 by buses, after which there was a thermal screening for each of them before they boarded the train. The Railways also sanitised the entire station after the train departed.
Central Railway (CR) on Friday ran four trains from different parts of the State taking the total number of trains to leave from Maharashtra to 30. The destination of the trains was U.P., Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
For Deepak Jaiswal, who was among those to leave on Friday, the train represented freedom. “I had given an application for me and my wife six days back and I got a call last night. We were brought to the station in the morning,” he said. Mr. Jaiswal earned his living by selling fruits in Jogeshwari (East), where he also lived with his wife. “For the last month, my business has been completely shut and I have run out of money. No one came to our area to give us rations,” he said.