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New Delhi, May 19, 2020
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued revised Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) on movement of stranded workers by trains in continuation of the revised guidelines on lockdown measures issued on May 17.
An official press release said that, under the SOP which allows movement of stranded workers by trains, the Ministry of Railways (MoR) would permit the movement of Shramik Special trains for migrant workers in consultation with the MHA.
The trains were introduced on May 1 by the Railways to enable migrant workers to return home after they were stranded at their places of work because of the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Many of them were left without any work, income, food and shelter.
All States and Union Territories (UTs) should designate nodal authorities and make necessary arrangements for receiving and sending such stranded persons, the release said.
Based on the requirements of States/UTs, the train schedule, including stoppages and destination would be finalized by MoR and communicated to them for making suitable arrangements for sending and receiving such stranded workers.
Publicity of train schedule, protocols for entry and movement of passengers, services to be provided in coaches, and arrangements with States/UTs for booking of tickets would be done by MoR.
Sending States/ UTs and MoR would ensure that all passengers are compulsorily screened and only asymptomatic passengers are allowed to board the train, the release said.
Social distancing will have to be observed by all passengers during boarding and travel, it said.
On arrival at their destination, the travelling passengers will have to adhere to such health protocols as are prescribed by the destination State/ UT, the release added.
Under the earlier SOP issued on May 1, the Ministry of Railways had said that the trains would be run from point to point on the request of both the concerned State Governments as per the standard protocols for sending and receiving such stranded persons.