BENGALURU: A day after Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa announced that the Karnataka government would bear the cost of migrants travelling on Shramik Special trains up to May 31, thousands of workers from Odisha, Manipur, Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh gathered at the Palace Grounds on Saturday morning to get their names registered on the 'Seva Sindhu' app to return home.
"Around 10,000 migrant workers had gathered and requested police to send them back after they received a WhatsApp message that they would get free train tickets at the Palace Grounds to return home," said an official source. According to him, the situation threatened to go out of control as the police tried to assure the workers that they would help them return home.
Thousands who lined up waited for hours with no water, food or restroom facilties and no clarity on whether they would be accommodated on the trains. "Many of the migrant workers are from Bhadrak in Odisha. We have requested the Railways for additional trains to ferry them back home. We are making sincere efforts to send as many of them as possible," said City Police Commissioner, Bhaskar Rao.
#Bengaluru— TNIE Karnataka (@XpressBengaluru) May 23, 2020
Mad rush near Palace Grounds, social distancing norms went for toss!
Thousands of migrant workers gathered Infront of Palace Grounds to register their name in Seva Sindhu app and then board train to their native .
Video by @Bidar_yuva @NewIndianXpress @santwana99 pic.twitter.com/U3DlPERTGG
According to sources, one Shramik Special left on Saturday carrying around 2,000 migrant workers from Odisha. "The rest of the crowd has been dispersed as of now after they were assured that they would all be sent back home," the officer said. Meanwhile, crowds continued to swell outside other gates of the Palace Grounds with migrants hoping to board trains to other states.
"For the Railways, it may be difficult to immediately arrange many special trains to Odisha considering the extensive damage caused by cyclone Amphan to the railway tracks. Bhadrak has been badly affected by Amphan," he added. Many of the migrants were asked to go back as trains ran full with barely a fraction of those who lined up making it.