RAIPUR: Even as the first special train from Delhi arrived in Chhattisgarh's Raipur city amid the COVID-19 lockdown, migrants seemed relieved to reach their home state.
For Raipur-resident M P Singh, his journey from Delhi amid the COVID-19 lockdown was the most memorable one.
Having been stuck in the national capital for over two months, the Singh couple returned to Raipur in the Railways' super-fast special Rajdhani train that arrived here on Wednesday morning.
"It is a moment of immense happiness for me and my family.
This journey will remain etched in my memory forever," said 56-year-old Singh.
Singh along with his wife returned to Raipur in the first special train run from Delhi to Bilapsur (Chhattisgarh) that left the national capital at around 4 pm on Tuesday and reached Raipur at around 9.
45 am, ahead of its scheduled time of 10.
The Singh couple, who live in Kanchanganga colony here, had gone to Delhi in March to attend a wedding and were about to return on March 24, a day before the nationwide lockdown was enforced.
"Fortunately, we could stay with our son, who works at a bank in Noida.
However, we were also desperate to return home," said Singh also a bank employee.
Singh expressed dissatisfaction over the arrangements made for passengers at Delhi station.
"Vehicles used to ferry passengers were stopped at least a kilometre away from the station and people had to wait in long queues to enter the premises.
There was no one to guide us through the medical screening," he said.
However, social distancing was practiced in the train and passengers were also given hand sanitisers, he said.
The experience was quite similar for Seema Tiwari from Dhamtari district, located around 77 km away from here.
Tiwari, who had gone to attend a wedding in Bhopal in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, was stuck there for three months with her 12-year-old son.
"I travelled to Bhopal well before the wedding.
But after the lockdown was enforced, the ceremony had to be cancelled and we were just stuck there," she said.
The railways resumed its passenger train services nearly 50 days after it had suspended its operations due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
The Government Railway Police and the Railway Protection Force were deployed at all stations to ensure precautionary measures were being followed, an official here said.
All passengers were allowed to exit only after they underwent medical screening and were instructed to remain in home quarantine for 14 days, he added.
The Railways had made special arrangements, including marking squares in and out of the station in keeping with the norms of social distancing, while passengers sported masks and some even wore gloves.