Amid the heavy influx of stranded labourers, the Uttar Pradesh government today claimed to have arranged for more than 1,000 trains so far to evacuate the migrants from other states.
Of the 1,044 Shramik Special trains, 834 have already arrived in UP, while 206 are expected to come in the next 2-3 days. On Wednesday, the state witnessed the arrival of maximum 100 trains.
“On a daily basis, between 150,000 and 200,000 labourers are returning by trains and buses,” UP additional chief secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi said in Lucknow this evening.
So far, the largest number of 129 trains arrived in Gorakhpur, which is the pocket borough of chief minister Yogi Adityanath. Most of the special trains are coming to the Eastern UP districts, which account for the maximum outward migration.
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The state government with the help of the Railways is plying intrastate trains to ferry labourers within UP too.
Besides, roadways buses are bringing migrants back from Haryana and Rajasthan. “We have deployed a fleet of 400 buses to ferry workers daily from Haryana,” Awasthi informed.
The state claimed to have deployed a fleet of nearly 27,000 buses for labourers, including 12,000 roadways buses, apart from 15,000 buses sourced on rent from private organisations by the respective district magistrates at the local level.
“The UP government is operating the largest service of the trains and buses to bring back our workers from other states,” he added.
In view of the migrants’ homecoming, the CM has directed officials to ramp up the quarantine facilities to accommodate 1.5 million people across the state.
So far, about 1.9 million migrants have returned to UP after the lockdown was imposed in March 2020. These include the initial influx of estimated 600,000 labourers between March and April. The homecoming of the migrants gained momentum after the Centre decided to ply trains for their evacuation. The state chipped in by pressing roadways buses into service to ferry workers from neighbouring states.
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Adityanath has asked officials to prepare a comprehensive database of the migrants detailing their work skills so that they could be sourced for employment in the state by the specific industries and verticals, such as plumbing, metals, textile, wood, civil construction etc.
At the same time, the government is exploring avenues to create employment opportunities for them in local industries, including dairy, food processing, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) etc.
The state has intensified night patrolling in the expressways and highways to curb the movement of migrants on trucks, on foot or other unauthorised vehicles, such as two/three wheelers.
The CM has directed for putting up tents at the interstate borders and toll plazas for providing food, water and shelter to the migrants, before they board the roadways buses for onward journey.