Nervous guest workers from across Tamil Nadu continued to arrive at Chennai Central station, prompting Southern Railway to operate special trains and add additional coaches to trains to take them to their hometowns.
Railway officials said they would add 30 extra coaches to express trains bound for north and northeastern states in the next few days to ease the rush. “Augmentation of coaches on a need-basis and running special trains based on the waitlist build-up is a regular feature,” said an official and admitted that the number of guest workers arriving at the station was slowly rising.
Special trains will be operated based on demand to quell the panic among workers.
Southern Railway assured them that trains would be operated from major stations in TN to their native state as a confidence-building measure. On Wednesday, guest workers rushed out of the Chennai Central-Mettupalayam Nilgiris Express to board a train to their home district. “We feel safe in our village instead of staying in a small room with six to seven others,” said Sujit Yadav, a native of UP’s Gorakhpur.
Guest workers usually return to their native states for festivals and harvest season this time of the year. The second wave and fear of another lockdown, however, were major factors triggering the reverse migration.