"Windows of hope," read the caption of a picture tweeted today by Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal. The picture had several migrant workers, bound for Jodhpur in Rajasthan, waving their hands from the windows of a "shramik (worker)" special train, chugging off from Hubbali railway station in Karnataka.
Windows of Hope pic.twitter.com/njN9vjCkTi— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) May 14, 2020
The minister, in another tweet, praised the railways' employees for working with full devotion in the service of the citizens even during a worldwide crisis.
Since early May, 800 "shramik" special trains carrying up to 1,200 passengers on each service have operated to help around 10 lakh stranded migrant workers - who lost their their means of livelihood in cities during the lockdown - and their families to return to their homes, informed the Railways minister.
The decision came in the wake of thousands of migrant workers resorting to walking home on foot for hundreds of miles, with dozens dying on their journey from exhaustion or accidents.
Rail operations in the country with one of the world's largest train networks gradually restarted operations from Tuesday.
Some 30 train journeys -- 15 pairs of return trips -- have been planned to run from New Delhi to other cities including Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai, the Railways Ministry said late Sunday.
The Railways on Thursday cancelled all tickets for passenger trains, including mail, express and suburban services, for journeys booked up to and including June 30. The cancelled tickets were booked before the lockdown.
The "shramik" trains and special passenger trains are not part of the trains whose tickets have been cancelled.
The train operations were halted in late March due to the nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of the deadly contagion, which has infected more than 78,000 people across the country and led to over 3,000 deaths.