Ludhiana, July 1
Even as the exodus of migrant population from the industrial hub of the state continued in the wake of Covid-19 lockdown and consequent adverse impact on trade, business and industry, the reverse migration has also set in as more and more migrants are joining the workforce both for industry and farm sector due to the paddy-sowing season.
As a result, just about four trains introduced to different destinations of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal are running to capacity – with a couple of these having no room (even waiting lists are exhausted) and the Railways is said to be under pressure to run more trains to ferry passengers both ways between destinations in Punjab and other states in Hindi belt.
The Railways had started operation of 100 pairs of Covid Special trains across the country from June 1, in the first phase of withdrawal of restrictions of which four trains, 02407/08 Karambhoomi Express (New Jalpaiguri-Amritsar-New Jalpaiguri), 02357/58 Durgiana Express (Amritsar-Kolkata-Amritsar), 04649/50 Saryu Yamuna Express and 04673/74 Shaheed Express (both on Amritsar-Jaynagar-Amritsar route) touched various destinations in UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
However, given the frequency of these four Covid Special trains, practically only one train was available for UP and Bihar-bound passengers on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday while on Monday, Thursday and Friday, two trains were running on this route which was quite inadequate to cope with the heavy rush of passengers on both-way travel on this section.
Senior railway officials were tight-lipped on the issue saying that introduction of more trains on any particular route, being a policy decision, was the prerogative of the Union Railway Ministry and the Government of India which alone could take any decision in this regard in the wake of pandemic which was showing no signs of abatement right now.
However, sources indicated that the assessment of passenger traffic for destinations to UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal was being made by the division-level officials and in every likelihood, at least, a couple of more trains could be run on this route to take the load of passenger traffic.
There were at least a dozen more trains which were operating to and from different destinations in Eastern, Central and North-Eastern states before the lockdown. It was reliably learnt that the trains to be made operational in the next phase could include 12003/04 Saharsa-Amritsar-Saharsa Garib Rath, 15707/08 Katihar-Amritsar-Katihar Amrapali Express and 13307/08 Dhanbad-Ferozepur-Dhanbad Ganga Sutlej Express.
At least one of the three trains on Amritsar/Jammu Tawi-Kolkata-Amritsar (13005/06 Howrah-Amritsar-Howrah, 13049/50 Howrah-Amritsar-Howrah and 13151/52 Kolkata-Jammu Tawi-Kolkata) section, which were suspended right now, could also be brought back on the tracks soon.
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