Mass Exodus of Migrant Workers from Surat Triggers Railway Chaos Amidst Election Season

The sudden surge in passenger numbers caught Surat railway station authorities off guard, prompting them to spring into action


Surat : As the nation gears up for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections and the onset of summer vacation in schools, Surat, the bustling hub of diamond, textile, and chemical industries, witnesses a mass exodus of migrant workers to their hometowns in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. On Sunday, an estimated 20,000 migrants boarded various long-distance trains from Surat, igniting discussions among political pundits and posing logistical challenges for the Western Railway (WR) authorities.

The sudden surge in passenger numbers caught Surat railway station authorities off guard, prompting them to spring into action. Alongside regular services, authorities arranged for six additional trains to accommodate the swelling crowds. With over 8,000 people thronging the railway station, stringent police arrangements were put in place to manage the unprecedented rush.

A railway officer recounted the chaos witnessed during the departure of the Udhana-Jayanagar Antyodaya Express on Sunday. “More than 8,000 passengers converged at Udhana railway station simultaneously,” they stated. “However, with the concerted efforts of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Government Railway Police (GRP), the crowd was managed and seated in an orderly manner aboard the train.”

In response to the overwhelming demand, railway authorities swiftly organized additional trains to facilitate the mass migration. “As passengers queued up for the Antyodaya train, we immediately deployed another train between Udhana-Jayanagar, followed by a third unreserved train,” the officer added. “Furthermore, the Udhana-Gorakhpur Antyodaya train was also pressed into service on Sunday.”

Sunday’s exodus marked just a fraction of the overall migration from Surat, with estimates suggesting that over 1 lakh migrants have already made their journey home. In light of the persistent demand, railway authorities have committed to operating daily special and unreserved trains to accommodate the high volume of travelers. As the influx of passengers continues unabated, special ticket counters have been opened to streamline the ticketing process.

Passengers, predominantly comprising migrant workers from the diamond, textile, and chemical sectors, expressed a mix of relief and apprehension as they embarked on their homeward journey. “The opportunity to return home during the elections and school holidays is a blessing,” remarked one passenger. “However, the uncertainty surrounding our return to Surat and the challenges of finding employment upon our return weigh heavily on our minds.”

For the Western Railway authorities, the surge in passenger traffic poses both logistical hurdles and operational complexities. With the election season and summer vacation contributing to the mass exodus, ensuring the safe and efficient transportation of migrants remains a top priority amidst the evolving landscape of travel demand.