Mumbai returnees maintaining social distancing upon their arrival at Jiribam on Monday  Credit: EastMojo image 

Imphal: Tangkhul Welfare Society Mumbai (TWSM) on Tuesday expressed their gratitude to Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh and Maharashtra government for evacuating stranded citizens amid the pandemic lockdown from the city.

On Monday, a train carrying at least 1,408 passengers arrived at Jiribam after the Indian Railways’ special train was flagged off from CST Mumbai on May 21.

This is the first train ferrying stranded Manipur natives from Mumbai.

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In a statement issued, TWSM said that just as the people were even beginning to run out of rations amid the lockdown, the news from the Manipur government to transport back its citizen free of cost came as a welcomed relief. The possibility of going home at this juncture brought great relief and comfort to the people, they said.

According to reports, there are at least 3,000 more citizens from Manipur stranded in Mumbai and have registered with the official state website to return home.

We will need at least two more trains to ferry back the stranded citizens to Manipur from here, said TWSM vice-president Thotmahai Raingam.

An appeal has been made to the state government to evacuate the remaining stranded persons from the city as soon as possible.

Since workplaces have been shut due to the lockdown, many migrant workers from Manipur have lost their jobs. And having lost the meagre monthly earnings, many have been unable to pay rent and continue living in an expensive city like Mumbai, he said.

Stressing on the struggles faced by the people during their train journey, Thotmahai also stated that there were various challenges on the long and tiresome journey, but we all understand that the Shramik special train is a means to transport migrant workers in an emergency.

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Despite all hardships faced it is the only means to go home, for which we are thankful, he said. The community also acknowledged the state nodal officer for Maharashtra, Anurag Bajpayee, for his remarkable service and making the transit of the stranded people possible.

“Your patience, kindness and willingness to assist us in every concern is highly appreciated and will not be forgotten, the statement said.

Mumbai police under the leadership of Jt CP Sandeep Karnik and inspector Vinay Gorpade has been rendering services to stranded citizens, especially from the northeast region, and helping them to begin their journey by arranging buses and other logistics means, mentioned the statement.

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