Jammu: Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur district on Sunday said all necessary arrangements have been put in place to receive thousands of local residents who are returning from various parts of the country by special trains.
The first such train with 1,000 passengers left Chikkabanavara station in Bengaluru for Udhampur Railway Station this afternoon, officials said.
They said the train is expected to reach Udhampur railway station on Monday morning. It also marks the first passenger train movement in Jammu and Kashmir during the coronavirus-driven nationwide lockdown which came into force on March 25, leaving a large number of local residents stranded in various parts of the country and abroad.
“All necessary arrangements have been put in place to receive the Jammu and Kashmir residents who are being brought back to their homes through special trains from various parts of the country,” Udhampur District Development Commissioner Piyush Singla informed.
Officials said all returnees have to be tested for COVID-19 and undergo institutional quarantine. If test reports come out negative, they they will be sent for home quarantine for 14 days, they said.
The railways proposed to run about 50 trains during the next 20 days for Jammu and Kashmir from different states to bring back home the stranded people. All the trains will land at Udhampur Railway Station only from where the people will be sent to their home districts in SRTC buses.
Singla said magistrates along with other staff members have been deployed to receive these passengers at the platform and guide them for online registration by the data entry operators deputed there through a specially designed app.
Singla said the administration had made arrangements for refreshment, packed meals and water bottles besides sanitization tunnels were also established and adequate number of sanitizers made available for the use of the passengers.
On Saturday, the Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam visited Udhampur and reviewed the arrangements for deboarding of passengers at the platform and their subsequent departure to their home districts.
The Chief Secretary asked the officers to ensure greater coordination at all levels so that all the arrangements and logistics work smoothly.
He also stressed the need to strictly adhere to all the prescribed guidelines, especially maintaining social distance during deboarding to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Another train is likely to leave Goa railway station for Udhampur later this evening, the officials said, adding the registration was underway for students, migrant workers and stranded residents when last reports were received.
Meanwhile, the administration also dispatched 97 residents of Srinagar and Ganderbal districts who were stranded in Jammu due to the lockdown.
The stranded people were picked up by SRTC buses from Sunjwan, Bathindi and Sidhra and were transported to their districts in central Kashmir, the officials said.