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National News
No consent required from destination states to run Shramik Special trains: Railways
New Delhi: After a political slugfest between the centre and the states over the movement of migrant workers on the Shramik Special trains, the railways on Tuesday said the consent of the destination states is not required to operate such trains. The statement from a spokesperson of the railways came hours after the Central government issued a standard operating procedure which said that for running the Shramik Special trains, permission will be given by the Ministry of Railways in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). States and union territories should designate nodal authorities and make necessary arrangements for receiving and sending such stranded people, said the SOP issued by the MHA.

However, the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Railways on May 2 for the Shramik Special trains had said: "The consent of receiving state shall be obtained by originating state, and a copy provided to Railways before departure of train". Railway spokesperson Rajesh Dutt Bajpai on Tuesday said, "Consent of terminating state not necessary to run Shramik Special trains". He further said, "After the new SoP, the implication is that no consent of the receiving state is mandatory". Over the last few weeks, the centre has alleged that some states like West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan which have a significant migrant population in other states were not giving permission for the migrant trains resulting in lakhs of them walking towards their homes hundreds of kilometers away.

While the states have denied the allegations, data has shown otherwise. In a step that will significantly ease the movement of migrants with railways needing approval only from the originating states, the national transporter hopes to run up to 300 such trains and carry the remaining migrants home over the next week, officials said. While Uttar Pradesh has allowed more than 837 trains into the state, Bihar has received 428 and Madhya Pradesh more than 100 trains, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said in a tweet on Tuesday. However, till Monday evening, some other migrant heavy states had agreed to receive very few trains -- Chhattisgarh approved only 19 trains, Rajasthan only 33 trains and Jharkhand only 72 trains, according to official data.

According to officials, while the railways has the capacity to run around 300 trains per day, it is operating half of that number because destination states are not sending an adequate number of approvals. Officials also said states like Gujarat , Maharashtra and Kerala are ready to send migrants home, but many of the receiving states have not given the approval. However, it is to be seen how the payment for such trains come in. While railways in its guidelines has said that the onus of payment of train fares is with the state governments from where such trains are originating, many a times the money has been shared between the two concerned state governments.

Railways also appealed to migrant workers not to panic and assured them that they will be sent home "at the earliest" by doubling the number of trains being run for them to 200. The railways also said it has asked the state governments to identify and locate the migrants who are walking on roads to go to their home states and transport them to the nearest main line railway station after registering them at the nearest district headquarters. It has also asked the states to give a list of these travellers to the railway authorities so that arrangements can be made for their further travel through Shramik specials. "Within the next 2 days Indian Railways will double the number of Shramik Special Trains to 400 per day.

All migrants are requested to stay where they are, Indian Railways will get them back home over the next few days," said Goyal. More than 21.5 lakh migrants have been transported to their home states through Shramik Special trains in 19 days. The railways has operated more than 1600 Shramik Special trains till Tuesday, it said. ASG http://ptinews.com/images/pti.jpg “We bring the World to you" Disclaimer : This e-mail message may contain proprietary, confidential or legally privileged information for the sole use of the person or entity to whom this message was originally addressed. Please delete this e-mail, if it is not meant for you.

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