For the second time in three days, Maharashtra urged the Centre to start trains from Mumbai and Pune with advance planning for lakhs of stranded migrants in the state, after the lockdown is lifted.
In a letter to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said that after the lockdown ends on May 3, thousands of migrants from other states will make a beeline to catch trains back home.
“As Maharashtra is a leading industrial state and having highest construction activities, a large number of informal labourers particularly migrated from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other northern states are working in these sectors,” Pawar informed Goyal.
Owing to the COVID-19 lockdown, around 650,000 migrants are living in camps in Maharashtra where the state is providing them with daily food and health services to them.
Besides another similar number of migrants are being fed and cared for by various NGOs or social organisations as all these labourers are now rendered jobless and keen to return to their home states.
Pawar’ letter to Goyal came two days after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray urged an Inter-Ministerial Central Team — which came here to assess the Covid-19 status and lockdown management — for similar relief for the migrants who want to return to their native states.
“The Bandra railway station gathering (April 14) in Mumbai is an example of restlessness of such labourers,” Pawar pointed out grimly to Goyal.
After the lockdown is lifted on May 3 or any other date decided by the Centre, there will again be a huge rush of these labourers at all railway stations, the Deputy Chief Minister cautioned.
In view of this, he urged Goyal to make necessary arrangements in advance, including running special trains from Mumbai and Pune to all major destinations around the country to accommodate all the migrants to ensure there are no law and order problems at any railway stations in the state.
Pawar’s letter to Goyal came two days after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray urged an Inter-Ministerial Central Team — which came here to assess the Covid-19 status and lockdown management — for similar relief for the migrants who want to return to their native states.