Bhubaneswar: A special train from Kerala carrying 1,200 migrant workers left from the Aluva Railway Station to Bhubaneswar on Friday evening.
The migrant workers from Odisha were accommodated in camps in Ernakulam district since COVID-19 lockdown were brought to the station in state-run corporation buses as per the protocol announced by the government. Official sources said the train departed at 6 pm.
All arrangements were in place for the first train, carrying 1,200 stranded migrant labourers, to leave from Ernakulam for Bhubaneswar, said State Home Secretary Biswas Mehta.
According to the State Labour department there are 20,826 camps across the state where 3,61,190 migrant labourers are presently residing.
“All those who want to travel will have to pay the base fare. Around 1,200 migrant labourers are on board. Tomorrow we are planning more trains. These are all non-stop trains. We alone cannot do this, as partnering states to which these people are going also have to agree, said Mehta.
“Partnering states and Kerala have to work in tandem as those states have to arrange for quarantine. As and when states like West Bengal, Jharkhand, Assam and Bihar agree, we will be sending the people from here,” said Mehta.
He requested all the migrant workers to cooperate with the district authorities.
“My appeal to all those wishing to return is to listen to the district authorities. There should not be any problem. Everyone who wishes to return will be sent. Since there is a limit of 1200 in one train, all have to be patient. We expect around three lakh people to return from here,” said Mehta.
Trains will also depart from big cities like Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.
Ernakulam district being the commercial capital of the state, has the highest number of migrant labourers.
The police will be transporting the labourers from the various camps in the city to these stations.