The Odisha government urged the Centre to temporarily suspend the running of ”Shramik Special” trains to the state’s coastal districts because of the impending cyclonic storm that is likely to intensify from Sunday, an official said.
The request was made by Chief Secretary A K Tripathy on Saturday during a video conference with Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba.
“We have urged the Centre to suspend the running of Sharmik Special trains for 3-4 days as it may create problems for administration as well as the passengers amidst the cyclone,” Special Relief Commissioner (SRC), PK Jena, told reporters.
Thanking the Centre for running special trains to ferry stranded migrant workers, Mr Jena said the impending situation could create problems in receiving the passengers and taking them to quarantine centres as per the COVID-19 guidelines.
“We want the Shramik Special trains to be suspended only for a temporary period because of the cyclone situation and not a complete halt to their operation,” Mr Jena said while replying to a question.
Mr Jena explained that the passengers who come to Odisha by other Shramik Special trains to the western and the southern regions of the state will have to remain in quarantine centres on their arrival and later be shifted to their native places after the cyclone is over.
Apart from Shramik Special trains, the Indian Railways has also started operating special passenger trains between New Delhi and Bhubaneswar.
Mr Jena, however, did not say anything about the other trains scheduled to reach the coastal region between May 17 and 20 when the cyclone is likely to make an impact.
Meanwhile, the state government has put 12 coastal districts – Gajapati, Ganjam, Puri, Khurda, Jajpur, Nayagarh, Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Mayurbhanj and Cuttack on alert for the cyclone.