Salute to ‘Train Drivers’ who Ferry Thousands of Migrants Safely to their Native Places from Mangaluru

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Salute to ‘Train Drivers’ who Ferry Thousands of Migrants Safely to their Native Places from Mangaluru- Today ( 25 May) evening at 4 pm from Mangaluru Junction Railway Station duo Train Drivers- K P Polachan and K R Anu Raj, both Keralites were at the helm in ferrying 1226 stranded migrants from Mangaluru to Jharkhand, keeping safety in mind and reaching the passengers safely to their native places. And today’s migrants, unlike earlier ones who traveled on train to their native places, their travel was FREE of charge, since it was sponsored by CM Yediyurappa.

Mangaluru: In the past few days, Team Mangalorean had published couple of articles (Ref: First AI Express Flight from Muscat to Arrive TODAY at MIA Piloted by Mangalorean Capt Michael Saldanha/ ); Mangalorean Capt Michael Saldanha Piloting the Air India Express Flight Dubai to Kochi with 177 Indians );and Second Air India Express Flight Carrying 182 Stranded Indians from Dubai lands at Kozhikode ); and we had appreciated the efforts put in by Mangalorean origin pilots Commander (Capt) Michael Saldanha and Capt Randal Lobo, along with their crew in landing hundreds of Indian repatriates from Dubai and Muscat safely to their homeland.

Similarly, on the other hand, we should also recognize the efforts put in also by the ‘TRAIN DRIVERS’ who have been recently ferrying thousands of stranded migrants safely to their native places- and Team Mangalorean decided to appreciate and salute them for their dedicated and committed service. In both the cases, the pilots played an important role while flying the plane safely and landing the passengers safely on their hometown soil, and the train Drivers also played an important role driving the train safely and reaching the passengers at their native place railway stations. Bot the Pilots and Train Drivers could be called as ‘WARRIORS’ while also many others in the forefront during this pandemic are called Çovid-19 Warriors’!

Train Drivers seen in photo L-R : K P Polachan and K R Anu Raj

A job of a Train Driver is a thankless and yet a satisfying job- Be it the rain or the sun, they make sure that millions of people reach their destination with little hiccups, considering the limited resources. Not to forget their innate sense of discipline; after all they rarely go on strike. In India, with the trains not being automatic it all boils down to the first person. Accidents do happen, but one has to appreciate that they are the rarest of the rare, considering the volumes IR has to handle. The belief that one is actually helping people (and a lots of them) to meet their closed ones, engage in commerce etc and in a way strengthening the foundations of a country is what I believe keeps them going, despite all odds. And it is a job that requires immense responsibility, surely not for the faint-hearted- Personally, I hold the Train Drivers in the same regard as the soldiers of a country.

Amid the novel coronaviurs outbreak in the country, the Indian Railways has operated hundreds of ‘Shramik Special’ trains, across the country resulting in lakhs of passengers/migrants reaching their home states, and thousands of migrants have been ferried from Mangaluru Junction Railway Station since 9 May 2020. MHA and Ministry of Railways decided to operate ‘Shramik Special’ Trains, to facilitate faster movement of stranded Workers to their Native places. Maximum 1,200 -1400 passengers, depending on the coaches, were able to travel in each of these special trains. However, only 54 people are allowed in a coach to maintain social distancing norms and the middle berth was not allotted to any passenger.

Proper screening of passengers is ensured before boarding the train. Prior to boarding and while on board, during the journey, passengers are given free meals and water. The trains are being run by Railways only after concurrence is given both by the state that is sending the passengers and the state that is receiving them. Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Kishan Bangera, the Deputy Station Manager said, “Since 9 May 2020 we have operated 16 trains with around 1300-1400 passengers per train during the schedule dates. We have taken all the precautions and necessary arrangements for these migrants before they boarded the train, and they were all happy with our hospitality at the Railway Station. Our motto was to keep them happy, when they were happy also to reach their native places and be with their loved ones back home”.

Another lady who have been toiling hard in order to make arrangements for the migrants to travel back to their native places, was Ms Wilma Tauro-the Labour Officer at Dept of Labour, who speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “We have tried our best to accommodate thousands of migrants when they were stranded in Mangaluru, and with much efforts communicating with the all the heads of other state governments we were able to send over 20,000 migrants to Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and other places- and now we have around 5000 plus left here hailing from West Bengal and nearby states, who would be sent soon once proper arrangements are made. It’s not easy as citizens pass comments of our efforts in handling the migrants, because there is lot of work involved, where we have to scrutinize their ID, perform health checks etc- and many of these migrants who were illiterate and had no proper ID status, was tough to handle. But we are happy that we sent few thousands to their hometowns, and will take care of the remaining soon”.

Bantwal DySP Valentine D’souza, Puttur Dy SP Diwakar Shetty, DK Additioanl SP Dr Vikram Amanthe, Punjalkatte SI Ms Soumya, Labour Officer Ms Wima Tauro, and Deputy Station Manager Kishan Bangera, among other officials handled the travel arrangements and departure of today’s migrants effectively and smoothly. Today’s ‘Shramik Special Train’ from Mangaluru to Jharkhand with 1226 migrants/passengers will be ferried by duo Train drivers, K P Polachan, aged 53 years and having 32 years of safe driving experience; and K R Anu Raj, aged 32 years, having 9 years of safe driving experience, whose motto is to handle the journey safely, so that the passengers reach their final destination safely. Team Mangalorean salute Polachan and Anu Raj, for their committed service; and also to the other Train Drivers who had ferried the migrants earlier, and will be ferrying more migrants in the future days- Thank You all, you are doing a yeomen service to your fellow countrymen irrespective of their nature, religion, caste or creed. Bravo- Train Drivers! Choo choo- you all ROCK!


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