VELLORE/COIMBATORE: The second special train carrying those stranded in Vellore departed from Katpadi railway junction here on Friday night. “The second special train left Katpadi railway junction at 8 pm. The locomotive carried a total of 1,131 persons in 24 coaches,” a senior officer said.
Top officials, including Vellore District Collector A Shanmuga Sundaram and Superintendent of Police (SP) Pravesh Kumar visited the junction to see off the travellers. The passengers were an excited lot as they finally boarded the train to home after being stuck here for about two months. Vellore district administration arranged them food and water.
“I brought my sister for treatment at CMC Hospital. We reached here on March 18. Now it is about two months since we have been stranded here,” said Bijandra from Jharkhand. The 33-year-old man said he could manage their stay here thanks to the support of district authorities. “As per the instructions of the authorities, we paid only 50 per cent of room rent. The lodge, where we were staying, arranged us food free of cost,” he stated.
Train to Bihar
Relief was writ on the faces of the first batch of migrant labourers from Bihar, departing for their native places on a special train from Coimbatore on Friday night. Around 1,140 Bihar migrant labourers based out of Pollachi, Kinathukadavu, Perur, and Coimbatore-South taluks were ferried in buses to Coimbatore Railway Station after being provided food by the Revenue Department.
At the station, the Health Department screened each labourer with thermal scanners to detect their body temperature. Later, their baggage was disinfected. The Health Department did not isolate anyone with COVID-19 symptoms.
Speaking with media persons, Collector K Rajamani said that Friday’s schedule was phase-one of the mega repatriation of Bihar immigrants; those having registered on the State government’s portal (www.nonresidenttamil.org) shall be sent in another special train on Saturday morning.
A common theme running throughout the exodus was that of migrant labourers going back home lock, stock and barrel, determined never to return.