The Shramik Special trains that have been deployed to ferry stranded migrants back home are already facing a lot of flak over delays in running and losing their way.
The ill-preparedness of the government can be gauged from the fact that most of the migrants have been complaining of poor hygienic conditions and lack of food and water on these trains.
The condition is such that many migrants are forced to drink water from train toilets.
Trains have been stuck on the way for hours without even basic facilities.
Speaking to The Hindu, a passenger on a train bound to UP, explained the situation. He said:
Even fetching toilet tap water became difficult after a point. People were fighting over it. Forget food, we wanted water. Sharir me paani nahi gaya tha, kamzoori aa rahi thi.
Another passenger, onboard a train bound for Madhya Pradesh, which had been stuck for 18-20 hours, said:
There was nothing to eat or drink in the train. I was anyway starving without work. It would have been better to die back there than board this train.
He also claimed that with no food and water on any station, passengers were forced to drink water from the toilet taps.
Recently, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal announced the doubling of Shramik Special trains. However, the sudden increase in trains has caused congestion and delays on routes leading to UP and Bihar, where most of these trains are headed.
Moreover, lack of basic facilities like food and water amid an intense heatwave, is further causing inconvenience to the migrants.