Train cancellations leave hundreds of migrant workers stranded at Bengaluru station

Hundreds of commuters, mainly migrant workers, remained stranded at the Sir M Visvesvaraya Terminal in Bengaluru on Saturday night after train services towards Howrah in West Bengal and neighbouring areas were cancelled following the train accident in Odisha. Migrant workers and families said that they learned about the cancellation of trains only after reaching the railway station. Citizen volunteers at the station were seen distributing snacks and cooked meals to the commuters who were stranded.

South Western Railways (SWR) officials told TNM that around 600 passengers headed towards Howrah were waiting at the Sir M Visvesvaraya Terminal. “As some trains were cancelled, it is estimated around 600 passengers are waiting at SMVB. Refunds have been given to passengers of the cancelled trains,” said an SWR official. Activists on ground said the number of stranded passengers was over 1,000.

Some of the stranded workers told TNM that they had been waiting for their train since the morning. “We have not received information about when the trains may restart. We are hoping that it will be restarted on Sunday,” a migrant worker from West Bengal told TNM.

Citizen volunteers arrived at the terminal on Saturday evening to provide snacks and cooked meals to the stranded passengers. The Labour Department and others should act without delay as there is uncertainty surrounding their travel at least till Sunday afternoon, said Tanveer Ahmed, an activist.

The SMVB-Howrah Express, which travels from Bengaluru to Howrah, was one of three trains involved in the major accident that took place on Friday evening in Balasore in Odisha. South Western Railways (SWR) has set up a help desk for passengers at various railway stations in the city.

PM Narendra Modi visited the site of the accident in Balasore that claimed nearly 300 lives and took stock of the relief operations. He also met survivors of the tragedy. The PM said the accident would be “probed from every angle” and “those found guilty would be punished.

“I have no words to describe my sadness over the incident. It is a difficult time for the families of those affected. May God give us strength to deal with the tragedy,” he said.

PM Modi also said that the government will leave no stone unturned to help and treat the injured passengers. “It’s a serious incident, instructions issued for probe from every angle. Those found guilty will be punished stringently,” he said.

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