Top UT Govt officials review arrangements in Udhampur
*Govt to monitor movement through IT platform
JAMMU, May 9: Railways proposed to run 40-50 trains for Jammu and Kashmir from different States to shift nearly 50,000 stranded persons to the Union Territory who were held up at various places in view of lockdown due to Coronavirus pandemic for past over one and a half month and the first train will depart from Bengaluru in Karnataka tomorrow followed by another from Goa on Monday.
The Union Territory Government hopes to bring all stranded people in Jammu and Kashmir in next 20 days as two trains are expected to reach Udhampur daily from different States beginning Monday. It will take around 40-50 trains for the Railways to clear all stranded people of J&K who want to come back home from across the country, official sources told the Excelsior.
Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Dr Jitendra Singh said the first train for Jammu and Kashmir will leave Bengaluru Railway Station in Karnataka at 11 am on May 10. The train will reach Udhampur Railway Station on May 11. More trains will follow, he added.
Commissioner/Secretary Industries & Commerce, Manoj K Dwivedi, who has been designated as Incharge to facilitate movement of people at Udhampur, said the second train for Jammu and Kashmir will start from Goa on May 11 night followed by other States.
“The Railways will be plying 40-50 trains for Jammu and Kashmir from different parts of the country, mainly the distant States like Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttarakhand etc to shift stranded persons of J&K back home,’’ Dwivedi said.
He added that it could take around 20 days to shift all stranded people of J&K from across the country.
Sources said the mechanism for shifting of stranded people from Udhampur to different parts of the Union Territory has been developed.
“After arrival at Udhampur, the stranded people will be given food packets and shifted to their respective district headquarters in buses for quarantine,’’ sources said, adding each train will bring around 1000-1200 persons by following social distancing guidelines issued by the Railways Ministry for movement of trains.
On return, the trains will be sanitized and locked at Udhampur and return to the Station from where they had originated. They will not carry any passenger enroute, sources said, adding the trains will move non-stop to ensure that no person boards or de-boards enroute. At the station from where the train will start, the stranded people will be provided food packets and water bottles by the Railways.
The district administration of Udhampur under the guidance of Deputy Commissioner Dr Piyush Singla has developed IT platform called ‘Transit Management Information System’, which will digitally keep entire data of the persons arriving at Udhampur Railway Station from different States.
Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, Principal Secretary Planning Development and Monitoring Department Rohit Kansal, Manoj K Dwivedi, Divisional Commissioner Jammu Sanjeev Verma, IGP Jammu Mukesh Singh, DIG Udhampur Sujit Kumar, SSP Udhampur Rajiv Pandey and DC Udhampur visited Udhampur Railway Station this afternoon to assess arrangements for smooth arrival of stranded people.
It may be mentioned here that all trains will land at Udhampur Railway Station only from where the people will be sent in buses to their district headquarters for quarantine.
Senior officers of civil and police administration reviewed the arrangements for regular arrival of trains at Udhampur from Monday morning and maintenance of data of all the people, who will be subjected to sample testing at various places and kept under quarantine as per the protocol.
The Chief Secretary issued necessary directions to the district administration to ensure that the people don’t face any inconvenience on their arrival at Udhampur as well as further journey to the district headquarters.
The Chief Secretary asked the officers to ensure greater coordination at all levels so that all the arrangements and logistics work smoothly. He stressed on the need of strict adherence to all the prescribed guidelines especially maintening social distancing during the process of de-boarding of passengers to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
He took stock of facilities to be extended to the passengers during this process and asked the district administration to ensure that registration and allocation of buses to the passengers for their onward journey to their home districts is done in an expeditious and hassle free manner to avoid any inconvenience on this account.
Sources, meanwhile, said the Centre has taken note of some senior IAS officers, who have been designated as Incharge/Nodal Officers to facilitate movement of stranded people by trains/buses, having either switched off their telephone number or diverted the calls to avoid receiving calls from the people.
Sources said the Centre had to intervene as a senior IAS officer whose mobile telephone number had been flashed on social media to facilitate movement of stranded people on trains, had switched off the number.
The Centre Government officials had to call another senior IAS officer to tell the official to keep his mobile number on.
Similarly, they said, another IAS officer who has been facilitating movement of stranded people at Lakhanpur has diverted call on his mobile number. Some other Nodal Officers have also not been attending calls on their mobile phones despite the fact that the UT Government has been giving wide publicity to mobile phones of the Nodal Officers asking the stranded people to contact them.
Large number of stranded persons also rang up the Excelsior complaining about no response from some of the Nodal Officers to their telephonic calls.