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Due to lockdown, migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons are stranded at different places, away from their hometowns. As per the order dated 29.05.2020 by the Ministry of Home Affairs, they are allowed to move with restrictions. Initially, migrant workers were not allowed to travel back to their hometown during the lockdown, so as to contain the spread of the virus. Now they can travel using the Shramik special trains as well as by flight.
States and UTs have a duty of designating authorities and develop standard protocols for receiving and sending such stranded persons. In case a group of stranded persons wish to move between one State/ UT and another State/ UT, the sending and receiving States may consult each other and mutually agree to the movement by road.
Some other key points in the guidelines are that:
- The moving person (s) would be screened and those found asymptomatic would be allowed to proceed.
- Buses shall be used for the transport of groups of persons. The buses will be sanitized and shall follow safe social distancing norms in seating.
- The States/ UTs falling on the transit route will allow the passage of such persons to the receiving State/ UT.
- On arrival at their destination, such person(s) would be assessed by the local health authorities, and kept in-home quarantine, unless the assessment requires keeping the person(s) in institutional quarantine. They would be kept under watch with periodic health check-ups. Using Aarogya Setu app, they can monitor their health status.
The Shramik Special trains
The Shramik special trains are trains which can be accessed by migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places due to the lockdown. These special trains run from one the boarding station to the final station(without any stops). The Ministry of Railways and the Ministry of Home Affairs decide the routes and movement of the trains. Before entering they will be compulsorily screened and only those with no symptoms of COVID-19 can travel on these trains. All passengers travelling have to maintain social distancing and comply with the health checkup protocol of the destination State/UT.
For example in Delhi, migrant labourers who want to return to their native places via Shramik Special trains will have to register themselves online. Migrants stranded in the capital, wishing to depart through Shramik Special trains or buses, may apply on https://epass.jantasamvad.org/train/passenger/. After online registration, the Delhi government will ensure proper planning for the movement of the migrants. Once the application is confirmed, the migrants would be informed via texts on their registered cellphone numbers about the details of trains or buses and the departure timings.
Flights: Air travel of passengers, both domestic and international, was prohibited since 25 March 2020. A list of guidelines have been passed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation for resuming air travel of passengers for domestic flights starting from the 25th of May, 2020. Read more here.
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