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Assam people stranded at Howrah now home-bound

 KOLKATA, March 26 - Hundreds of people, stranded in transit at the Howrah station here owing to suspension of passenger train services during lockdown, have been transported by bus by the West Bengal government on way to their respective destinations, state transport secretary NS Nigam said here on Thursday.

Most of these people, who had been outside the station building since Saturday, had a harrowing time spending the nights in the open and desperately seeking avenues to return home, before the authorities came to their rescue.

Eastern Railway authorities claimed that the Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel provided security to them as also with food before they were ferried to their respective destinations by bus by the state government.

The Railways had suspended train services, except for some suburban trains, on Sunday owing to the ‘Janata Curfew’ announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It then announced the suspension of all passenger trains from Sunday midnight in a bid to prevent the spread of the dreaded coronavirus.

“There is no stranded passenger at Howrah station at present. They have been transported away by the state government in its buses,” ER spokesperson Nikhil Chakraborty said.

Most of these stranded people were from Assam and were working in different parts of the country. They were travelling back to their native places following the lockdown that came into force in different states since last week, when they were caught in the shutdown after reaching Howrah.

The West Bengal government started taking them to Assam border in buses since Monday and handing them over to the authorities of the neighbouring state. Another 250 people were scheduled to reach the Assam border at Baxirhat in Coochbehar district of West Bengal by Thursday night, Nigam said.

The state transport secretary said his counterpart in the Assam government has been requested to make arrangements for their onward travel to their respective places from the border after conducting health check-up. – PTI

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