Spl train from Katpadi takes migrants home
Tamil Nadu

Spl train from Katpadi takes migrants home


A special train in the early hours of Thursday took 1,840 stranded patients of Christian Medical College Hospital in Vellore as well as migrant workers from Katpadi in Tamil Nadu to Ranchi in Jharkhand.

Medical tourists were 1,140, and the rest were guest workers.

These patients from Jharkhand came to CMC hospital in early March for treatment of various ailments and got stranded when the railways suspended services on March 22, two days before the entire the nation was brought under a lockdown for two weeks to contain outbreak of Covid virus.After discharge from hospital, they moved to lodges, waiting for resumption of train services. As days went by and normalcy nowhere in sight, the migrants got desperate as they could not pay room rent.

The Tamil Nadu Government organised with the Southern Railway to run this special train to take them home after they represented to authorities.

The train with 24 sleeper coaches could take only 54 in a coach as the middle berth had been removed to ensure social distancing.

The government shared the train fare with the home state Jharkhand.

While this was a special case, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami said his government would arrange special trains for migrant workers also if they want to go home.

While stranded medical tourists are happy to be with their families again, the migrant workers are caught in a cleft stick. They have no job in Tamil Nadu but they get some food. At home they have no money, no job, but some food.

As the shutdown entered the 41st day, the migrant unrest has been surfacing in Tamil Nadu. Those in automotive sector in Kanchipuram are in distress as plants remain shut.Those in construction sector have been cashiered. Many could not even get their duesbut they have managed for these 40 days as the Government allowed them to draw ration from fair price shops free of cost and also gave then cooked food in Amma canteens and community kitchens.

As a migrant working in a hosier unit in Tirupur put it, the owner could not run it as no orders were coming.

The migrant who is from Bihar has said: "I come from a middle class family. I was forced to beg. So I decided to go home because we won't starve even if we have no job. We can at least be with our family."

In the light of developments, the Tamil Nadu Government decided to send all migrant workers who want to go home.

Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami announced on Tuesday that the Government would send over 50,000 migrant workers who want to go home. He said a portal had been set up to register them and ten teams of officials had been tasked to see that they are sent back in a week.

He said that following relaxation of restrictions, work had resumed in sectors like construction. He said: "Those who want to stay on are free to do so. The government will arrange trains for those wanting to go back"

.However, as thousands of migrant workers are in the State, it would not be possible to send them all back in one go.

He said he asked officials to arrange special trains to leave late in the night as ferrying them to stations in day time might cause transport problems.

He said the workers would be picked from their work spots and taken to the station.

The first such migrants’ train from Katpadi left for Ranchi in the early hours of Thursday.