BENGALURU: Bihar received its first lot of stranded students on board two special trains on Monday, days after their en masse return from the educational hub of Kota in Rajasthan had become a major bone of contention.
One of the trains pulled up in Barauni town of Begusarai district with 1,200 students, while another 994 came by the train that reached Gaya, officials said.
The students who reached Barauni on the 22-coach train are being made to undergo thermal screening at the railway station, Begusarai District Magistrate Arvind Kumar Verma said.
"Those found to be suffering from symptoms will be held back and their samples sent for testing."
Those found without any symptoms will be taken to their respective places by buses arranged by the administration.
They will have to put up at quarantine centers at their respective block headquarters for a stipulated time period, Verma said.
Parents and guardians were strictly forbidden from coming to the station in a bid to prevent crowding, the official said, adding that though those staying in Kota along with their wards had been allowed to undertake the journey back home.
In Gaya, the students were welcomed by Agriculture Minister Prem Kumar, who is also the local MLA.
The Gaya-bound train had 20 coaches and the students hailed from the five districts that fall under the Magadh division, which is headquartered in the town.
As many as 364 students were from Gaya, 259 were from Nawada, followed by Aurangabad (241), Jehanabad (93), and Arwal (37), official sources said.
The students were also made to undergo thermal screening at the Gaya junction before being allowed to leave.
The return of students from Kota, which is a major coaching hub in Rajasthan and attracts a large number of medical and engineering aspirants, was initially frowned upon by the Bihar government, which felt that it could undo the benefits of the coronavirus lockdown.
When nearly 40 students returned through private vehicles last month, the chief secretary had shot off an angry letter to the Union home secretary, asking him to pull up the Kota district magistrate.
At a meeting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi held with chief ministers, Kumar expressed disapproval of many states choosing to bring back students from Kota by buses.
When the Union Home Ministry came out with revised guidelines, the Bihar government initially balked, saying it did not have an adequate number of buses.
Later on, it joined other states in demanding special trains.
The first train that reached the state after the imposition of lockdown was a 'Shramik Special' that carried about 1,200 migrant workers from Jaipur to Danapur near Patna last Saturday.
Another train from Ernakulam in Kerala reached Danapur on Monday.