The Bengaluru division of South Western Railway on Tuesday distributed 700 Channapatna toys to children of migrant workers who left Bengaluru by Shramik special trains. More than 50 children who travelled in Shramik Special on Monday were also given these toys.
These toys were distributed under the āPut the Smile Backā initiative launched by Ashok Kumar Verma, Divisional Railway Manager, Bengaluru Division. The Railways said the Bengaluru Division has undertaken āPut the Smile Backā initiative under Verma to make the journey of children of migrant labourers enjoyable and memorable.
A press release issued by the South Western Railways said Jain Creative Impressionā-Kids Toy Store and other agencies have sponsored this initiative and joined hands with Railways in making the train journey of migrant labourers and their families happy and memorable during COVID-19 crisis.
Channapatna toys are GI (geographical indications, approved by the government) tagged and quite famous among children. These toys are safe and good for children as they are made of wood and natural colours.
The initiative also supports local art and craft of Karnataka and encourages business of local artisans and artists.
Meanwhile, all passengers, other than those travelling to Madhya Pradesh, were made to pay around Rs 1,000 to reach their destinations to the state government, who in turn paid the Railways.
On Tuesday, the South Western Railway (SWR) zone operated nine special trains to ferry 13,119 migrants back home to seven north and east Indian states.
\With the second train, the Bengaluru Division itself crossed the milestone of ferrying 1 lakh passengers by Shramik specials. Earlier the SWR had said that over a lakh passengers had already left the state in these trains from across Karnataka.
A train scheduled to leave for Jalpaiguri in West Bengal was cancelled due to Cyclone Amphan.
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.
Around two weeks ago, the Karnataka government had received scathing criticism from activists and opposition for creating a āhostage situationā for these workers by stopping these trains and asking them to go back to work.
(With IANS inputs)