Patna, March 18 IANS | 7 months ago

A day after Holi, most of the railway stations in Bihar were Tuesday witnessing a heavy rush of passengers, mostly migrant workers returning to their work places outside the state, a railway official here said.

"It is a big challenge for us as there is a heavy rush today (Tuesday) in all trains, especially on long distance routes from Bihar," East Central Railway's (ECR) chief public relations officer Amitabh Prabhakar said.

Prabhakar said the heavy rush would further increase Wednesday. "Going by official records, there is virtually no berth available in long distance trains -- particularly on those headed to New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad -- for more than a week," he said.

It is estimated that over 50 lakh migrant workers are employed across the country, particularly in big cities, and at least half of them visit home during Holi, a colourful festival known for its earthy flavour with Bhojpuri songs and traditional dishes.

Crowded platforms, long queues at the railway ticket counters and heavily loaded trains were a common sight since Tuesday morning.

"I am worried about boarding a train to Mumbai after I was informed by a railway official that all trains are packed to capacity for the next few days. I will have to travel without reservation to join office on time," said Ajay Kumar Sinha, who was waiting at Patna Junction railway station.

Sinha, who works in a private factory in Mumbai, visited his village near Hajipur town in Vaishali district to celebrate Holi.

Another passenger, Surender Prasad, said hundreds of people like him have been waiting to travel but all coaches of long-distance trains are packed and there is no place despite his holding a wait-listed ticket.

"It seems that there is no place at all in long-distance trains as migrant workers have started returning to work following Holi," Prasad, who works in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, said.

According to a railway official of Danapur railway division, the railways are running a number of special trains to clear the rush of passengers. "We are also adding extra passenger-coaches on long-distance trains," he said.

(Posted on 18-03-2014)

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