NEW DELHI: Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday said the Railways is ready to run 'Shramik Special' trains from any district in the country, and asked district collectors to prepare a list of migrant workers stranded in their regions due to the coronavirus lockdown.
The district collectors have to coordinate with state nodal officers as well as nodal officers designated by the Railways, he said.
"To provide relief to migrant labour, Indian Railways is ready to run "Shramik Special" trains from any District in the Country. District Collectors should prepare lists of stranded labour & destination and apply to Railways through the State nodal officer," the Railways minister tweeted.
"Along with this, the District Collectors should give a list and destination to the State Nodal Officer of Railways," he said.
Over the last few days, Goyal has been appealing to state governments to approve more trains to ferry migrants to their home states.
The appeal has gone out specially to states like Jharkhand, Rajasthan and West Bengal.
However, it is not clear how the steps prescribed by the minister on Saturday are different from the present protocol where lists of such workers are prepared at the district level as well.
In a press release issued later in the day, the ministry indicated that the Railways hopes this process will ensure maximum utilisation of rakes.
"Once the information about migrants wishing to go back to their home states is made available from each district, the Indian Railways can take further action to help operationalise the trains.
"Railways is presently running less than half of its capacity.
It can transport many more migrants safely and quickly," it said.
The national carrier has the capacity to run almost 300 'Shramik Special' trains a day, it said.
"Full capacity operationalisation of the railways rakes would provide significant relief to the migrants across the country who are seeking to go to their home states.
The Indian Railways is ready to augment the running of 'Shramik Special' trains as per the actual needs of the districts," it said.
As on Saturday, more than 15 lakh migrants have already been transported by the Railways to their home states and almost 1,150 'Shramik Special' trains operationalised.