We run trains if sending, receiving states agree: Suresh Angadi

Bengaluru: The railways is prepared to run trains between two cities to transport migrant labourers if the state governments in the originating as well as the destination cities are on the same page, and agree to both send and receive workers, Union minister of state for railways Suresh Angadi told ET on Wednesday.

Angadi dismissed reports that Karnataka was forcing migrant labourers to stay back in Bengaluru by succumbing to builder lobby and was cancelling trains to achieve this. He said many state governments were not in favour of receiving migrant labourers in large numbers from big cities that are in the red zone. Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai are among the cities that are in the red zone.

Several states are reluctant because of the huge challenges involved in quarantining thousands of workers coming from red zone cities. “I was present myself at a top level meeting in Bengaluru where we had to deal with requests from Kannadigas in Mumbai to head back to their places in north Karnataka cities like Belagavi, Bijapur and Gulbarga,” said Angadi. “While we as political executives were sympathetic to their requests, chief secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar explained the serious implications Karnataka would face if permission was granted. I appreciate him for putting his foot down, and finally, the Karnataka government decided not to agree to their request.”

Angadi gave the example of how several people in Mandya district got Covid-19 infection after a family brought the body of a family elder from Mumbai. Health officials have become extra cautious after this experience, and hence the resistance, he said.

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