Imphal: As many as 1,600 stranded persons hailing from Manipur boarded Indian Railways’ first special train from Mumbai on Thursday night as part of the state’s massive evacuation drive.
However, as per reports, since the time they boarded the train from Mumbai CST around 10 pm on Thursday, passengers were yet to be provided with either food or water at least till 5.30 pm on Friday.
Moreover, as the train stopping at every possible station instead of a few specific ones followed by the previous special trains, by Friday evening the train was still travelling somewhere at Jalgaon district in Maharashtra.
Speaking with EastMojo over phone, Zingshopem, one of the passengers, said, “We understand that there is a shortage of food supply in the markets due to nationwide lockdown but the Railways should provide us with at least drinking water, given the high temperature owing to the scorching weather.”
As vendors at the railway stations remained shut, passengers are having a hard time to buy food in any of the stations. They have now appealed to the authorities concerned to look into the situation.
“We are sharing whatever food we packed before boarding the train, but we are worried that rations we are carrying might not last till our destination,” Zingshopem added.
“In our coach, there are a few married women travelling alone with their small children and we are worried that the kids might get sick on the way if the situation continues like this,” the passenger added.
They have also appealed the state government to properly screen them upon their arrival at Jiribam since there was no health screening done before boarding the train at Mumbai station.
EastMojo also reached out to the assigned nodal officer of Maharashtra Anurag Bajpayee to confirm the situation. “During the crisis, supply of commodities may not be up to the level, so one has to understand the situation,” he said.
However, the nodal officer refused to receiving any information related to unavailability of food and drinking water to the passengers.
The officer appealed the people to remain patient and be grateful to the railways for their efforts.
Clarifying that the train is running slow, Baipayee said that there are two trains bound for Jiribam, the one being from Pune. These trains will pass through Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam and there is heavy traffic congestion on these routes because of heavy movement of Shramik special trains.
So far, at least eight trains have arrived Jiribam in Manipur to ferry the stranded citizens from metro cities. As on Friday, over 12,000 stranded citizens have already reached home either by the special trains or hired vehicles and quarantined at various institutional quarantine centers in the districts.