The Karnataka government had earlier faced backlash for not allowing migrant workers to return to their hometowns.

Migrants wave from a passing train which takes them to their hometownsPTI image
Coronavirus Coronavirus Monday, May 18, 2020 - 09:25

Over a lakh stranded migrants including distressed workers, women, children and others travelled from Karnataka to their native places in various states across the country in special trains run by the zonal South Western Railway (SWR) since May 3, an official said on Sunday.

"We have crossed ferrying 1 lakh passengers (migrants) in 73 Shramik Special trains," said an SWR zone official.

On Sunday, the railway zone operated 12 special trains to ferry 16,873 migrants back home to five north Indian states amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

"SWR on Sunday operated eight more Shramik Special trains, six to Uttar Pradesh (UP) and two to Bihar up to 6.30 pm on Sunday," said the SWR official.

The railway zone had scheduled four more trains to Bihar, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir for Sunday night.

"The first train left from Ballari to Azamgarh in UP with 1,452 passengers at 10:35 a.m. The Member of Parliament for Ballari visited the station and interacted with the migrants leaving Ballari," said the official.

The second train departed from Hubballi to Basti in UP with 1,446 migrants at 12:25 p.m. Sunday's third special train left Hosapete to Azamgarh at 1:10 p.m. with 1,445 migrants.

According to the official, food for the migrants departing from Hosapete to Azamgarh was arranged by the local Jain Samaj.

The fourth train from Ashokapuram in Mysuru left for Gorakhpur in UP at 2:10 p.m. with 1,392 migrants.

"The district administration provided lunch for the migrants while the local Rotary Heritage Club is chipping in with light snacks," said the official.

Sunday's fifth special train left Malur station near Bengaluru for Muzaffarpur in Bihar at 4:05 p.m. with 1,452 passengers aboard.

The sixth and SWR 70th special train departed from Chikka Bannavara, from Bengaluru's outskirts to Azamgarh at 4:30 p.m. with 1,520 passengers. The seventh special train left Malur for Baghalpur in Bihar at 6 p.m. with 1,468 migrants.

Sunday's eighth special train departed from Chikka Bannavara to Basti with 1,520 migrants at 6:17 p.m. The ninth train departed Chikka Bannavara at 7:58 p.m. with 1,511 migrants for Jaipur in Rajasthan. This train, also SWR's 73rd special train marked the crossing of 1 lakh migrants being ferried from the state.

Sunday's 10th special train left Hassan for Katihar at 7:50 p.m. with 1,440 migrants aboard while the 11th special train from SWR left Malur at 8:40 p.m. with 1,542 migrants for Barkha Kana in Jharkhand.

The 12th special train, last one for Sunday and SWR's 76th special one, departed Chikka Bannavara at 9:35 p.m. for Udhampur in J&K.

The special trains are being run following the Ministry of Home Affairs' permission for the movement of stranded migrant labourers, workers, students, tourists and others.

Earlier, Karnataka faced stiff opposition and public outrage at the move to not allow migrant workers to travel back to their hometowns.

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