Bhubaneswar: Five special trains will start journey from three states on Saturday to bring back 5,000 stranded Odia people, a day after the Supreme Court allowed the return of migrants to Odisha, officials said here.
The Supreme Court on Friday stayed an interim order of the Orissa High Court which had asked the state government to ensure that only those tested negative for COVID-19 were allowed to return to Odisha.
Three trains will come from Gujarat and one each from Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, the officials said, adding that about 5,000 people will return to Odisha by these five trains.
A senior East Coast Railways official said one of the five trains has already left from Surat for Odisha’s Ganjam district.
Two trains will leave from Ahmedabad in Gujarat for Khurda Road in Odisha, one train from Panvel station in Mumbai will start the journey to Odisha’s Titlagarh in Bolangir district and another will leave from Chennai for Jagannathpur in Ganjam district, the official said.
Meanwhile, Odisha Commerce and Transport Minister Padmanav Behera said special trains carrying Odia workers from Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat will arrive in the state in different phases.
“As the Odisha government has told different states not to allow the migrant workers to travel in buses in view of series of road mishaps, arrangements have been made for their return by trains,” Behera said.
The minister said the state government was in touch with different states and the railways.
He said arrangements are being made to ensure the safe return of the migrant workers.
“Social distancing is possible only if people travel by train,” he said.
Behera, however, said that some people in individual or small groups stranded in different places may be allowed to return by bus or other vehicles.
“Some people, who have gone on pilgrimage or for treatment to other states and are stranded, may be given special permission to return to Odisha by buses by maintaining social distancing,” he said.