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MUMBAI: Occupancy data of trains to Mumbai from states that provide the bulk of the migrant workforce shows migration is gaining pace, as economic activity gradually picks across various sectors.
Data provided for 11 trains to Mumbai shows eight boasted more than 100% occupancy in services scheduled to arrive between June 26 and June 30.
Nearly 10 lakh migrant workers had registered in the state to travel to their home states during the lockdown. Of these, seven lakh travelled by train and around two lakh by other modes of transport.
Western Railway’s chief public relations officer Ravinder Bhakar said, “We have brought more than two lakh passengers since June 1 when special trains began to run. Initially, the occupancy was 70%. Now, it is almost 100% in some trains.”
WR operates trains from Mumbai to eight destinations outside Maharashtra, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
A senior Central Railway official said, “So far, more than three lakh passengers have travelled on CR. The occupancy varies from train to train.” CR operates trains on 15 routes from Mumbai. Around 2.5 lakh of returning migrants are from UP, Bihar and West Bengal, said a source.
15k migrants returning every day: Home min
MMRDA, which is facing a labour shortage, too, expects migrants from other states to arrive in large numbers in July.
An MMRDA spokesperson said, “More than 700 workers have arrived for work on three Metro corridors from outside Maharashtra and more are expected in July.”
State home minister Anil Deshmukh said around 15,000 migrants are returning per day, as industries and businesses are being given permission to reopen.
The lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak had triggered an exodus of migrant workers from major cities of Maharashtra as industrial activity came to a standstill.
More than 30-35 lakh migrants returned to their hometown via trains and buses.
“But we have started ‘unlocking’ the state. As a phasewise reopening of many industries is being carried out, these workers are returning to the state,” said Deshmukh. Although fewer trains are running between Maharashtra and other states at this point, the number will rise once industrial activity begins on a larger scale, Deshmukh had said.
Migrants who are back in the city say returning was easy. Autorickshaw driver Anil Yadav said, “After my father died, we booked a vehicle for eight for Rs 50,000 to travel to our village in UP. I have now returned to Mumbai on Kamayani Express without any hassles.” Thane’s Rakesh Jaiswar said, “Our company shut during the lockdown, so I left for my village in UP. Now, the company has called us back.”