Four-year-old Khayinghor Kasar is among the 1,050 stranded citizens returning from Chennai to Manipur by train Credit: EastMojo image 

Imphal: Indian Railways’ special train carrying a total of 1,050 stranded people from Manipur has already started its journey from Chennai in Tamil Nadu on Sunday. This is one of the first massive evacuation mission for natives stranded in metro cities by the Manipur government by train amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

Four-year-old Khayinghor Kasar from Ukhrul district is among the youngest passengers who embarked on the Shramik Special Train, crossing at least 3,600 km to reach his destination at Jiribam railway station in Manipur.

The train departed from Chennai railway station at 8 pm on Sunday evening and it will arrive in Manipur on Tuesday.

The train will arrive at Jiribam railway station on May 12

On Monday at 5 pm, the train reached Raipur in Chhattisgarh, said sources.

Comprising mostly stranded students and migrant workers, including pregnant women and children, the returnees will be crossing various terrains and mountains by rail before they make it to their home state.

However, as per the MHA protocols and guidelines, soon after their arrival at Jiribam railway station, the returnees will be taken directly to Imphal by bus for institutional quarantine as a vital step to check the spread of novel coronavirus in the state.

Earlier on Saturday, as per reports, altogether 50 buses had left for Jiribam to transport the returnees back to Imphal.

Speaking with EastMojo, Mayarngam Kasar, one of the travellers, expressed his gratitude for the great collaboration between the Tamil Nadu and Manipur government.

A railway worker disinfecting the train at Raipur railway station on Monday  

Evacuation at this time is a vital thing as there are hotspot colonies in the city where our people are very prone to get infected if proper safety measurement is not taken care of, he said.

As per Mayarngam, all the passengers had underwent COVID-19 testing before boarding the train and issued a certified medical document as precautionary measure.

Moreover, for their self-protection, the railways also provided two face three-layered face masks, sanitizers and soaps to each passenger, apart from sufficient drinking water and warm food.

Passengers having their meals en route to Manipur from Chennai 

As a precautionary measure and to maintain social distancing, each compartment is shared by only six people, which means three seats are shared by two persons.

Moreover, to prevent passengers from crossing from one compartment to another, each compartment of the train has been totally sealed with safety except the door.

Apart from the railway police force (RPF) and the in-charge doing the rounds in each stop, each compartment has been assigned one person among the passengers to monitor and oversee the overall well-being of the people, he said.

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