Three special passenger trains departed from the New Delhi Railway Station for Bilaspur, Dibrugarh and Bengaluru. The special trains have resumed operations after a hiatus of almost 50 days owing to the nationwide lockdown. The passengers were asked to bring their own food and linen with strict adherence to the protocols of social distancing.
The facility was initiated to ease the interstate movement of people stuck in other states amid the lockdown. However, the New Delhi Railway Station stood witness to an amalgamation of emotions, disappointments, problems and ecstatic smiles. Those with the tickets, were excited and energetic for the journey they were longing for. “I’ll be seeing my daughter after four months now. I hope she’d love this surprise,” said Sarita, with a smile.
But, every ending isn’t a happy one. Some people couldn’t get their tickets as the IRCTC website booking system ran slow because of the online traffic. With their baggage and money, these people covered a significant distance only to get in the trains.
“My father met with an accident in Patna. He has suffered severe brain injuries and almost all my family’s savings have been exhausted now. I just want to see him once. I have walked all the way from Sonipat and someone snatched my wallet on the way. I’m not being allowed inside as I don’t have the ticket but I want to see my father, just once,” said a teary eyed 24-year-old Mukesh.
Ramveer from Baksar paid almost three times the cost of a ticket to four different agents to get his ticket booked, but as fate would have it. “I kept trying and couldn’t sleep whole night as I was wondering if the traffic load would magically disappear after midnight but that never happened, either. My wife gave birth to my daughter whom I haven’t seen yet. It’s excruciatingly painful. I’m worried for both of them and wanted to be with them. I have walked all the way from Najafgarh only to try my luck here but that is unlikely, given the strict checking by Delhi Police.”
A group of people walked all the way from Manesar to New Delhi after ticket confirmation.
“We started at Monday evening at 7 and reached here at 8.30 in the morning. We had heavy baggages which worsened our situation. The checking at borders was really strict and we were even lathicharged at a border, since it was difficult to convince the cops that our tickets have been confirmed and we’re crossing the interstate borders for our train. Now, we have nothing to eat here. We are exhausted and can’t wait for our journey,” said Navin.
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