A special train from Rajasthan’s Kota, carrying around 1,200 students belonging to Jharkhand, reached the Hatia railway station in Ranchi on Saturday, a senior railway official said.
The train entered the platform at 7.05 pm, Divisional Railway Manager of Ranchi Neeraj Ambast said.
These students were stranded in Kota due to the nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus. Earlier this week, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) allowed the states to ferry migrant labourers, students and tourists back home in buses or special trains.
Ranchi Deputy Commissioner Rai Mahimapat Ray, Senior Superintendent of Police Anish Gupta and other officials were present at the station to receive the students.
The officials welcomed them with flowers, food packets and water.
Over 300 students from Ranchi were among those who returned by the train.
“It is a happy moment,” a girl said as she struggled to hold back tears.
Shreya, a student from Ramgarh, got emotional after getting off the train. “I am very happy. I was confident that our (state) government will bring us back,” she said.
Shreya said when other students started leaving Kota and she was stranded amid the uncertainty, it was a “devastating feeling”.
“But our teachers were very supportive, she said.
A woman, who returned from Kota with her son, broke down after getting off the train, but said it was tears of joy after returning home.
The students headed towards the buses waiting outside the station, which will take them to their respective districts or neighbourhoods in Ranchi.
“I thank our Chief Minister Hemant Soren…we will achieve for what we went away from the state,” said another student.
Sujan Kumar, a student, said he got frustrated and depressed in Kota as tension was mounting.
“Now I feel glad,” he said.
“When I boarded the train around 10 am in Kota, I heaved a sigh of relief as I will be back home. There was no problem during the journey,” said another student.
Gupta said the students were briefed about staying in home-quarantine and the preventive measures in accordance with the Covid-19 guidelines.
Chief Minister Hemant Soren said it was the responsibility of his government to ensure the well-being of the students.
He said after a preliminary screening, the students would be dropped at their homes.
Asking the parents and students not to worry, the chief minister said the screening would be done at a hospital and if any Covid-19 symptoms were found, then only other processes would be adopted.
Over 1,200 migrant workers arrived at the Hatia station from Telangana on a special train late Friday night.
Meanwhile, an official statement said the Karnataka government has launched a portal — sevasindhu.karnataka.gov.in — and the people of Jharkhand stranded in the southern state can upload their details on the website.
The governments of Jharkhand and Karnataka would take appropriate steps to bring back the migrants, it said.