Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Trains jammed as migrant workers leave Bihar after Chhath

Patna, Oct 27 (IANS) All trains from Bihar are packed with thousands of migrant workers who are returning to their places of work outside the state after celebrating the popular festival of Chhath here.








Patna, Oct 27 (IANS) All trains from Bihar are packed with thousands of migrant workers who are returning to their places of work outside the state after celebrating the popular festival of Chhath here.



'Railway stations are witnessing a huge rush of passengers, mostly migrant workers, who are returning to join their work outside Bihar after celebrating Chhath,' a senior railway official said here Tuesday.





Hundreds of migrant workers have been waiting at various railway stations across Bihar to board long distance trains.





The four-day Chhath festival ended Sunday. Millions of devotees, mostly women, took a dip in the Ganga river and prayed to the rising sun.





More than two million migrant workers from across India arrived in the state last week to celebrate Chhath. Some had arrived before Diwali.





'We will board an express train to New Delhi in the evening,' Mahesh Rai, who was waiting at the Patna railway station, said. Rai, who works in a factory near Faridabad in Haryana, visited his native village near Hajipur in Vaishali district to celebrate Chhath.





Rai told IANS that he never misses an opportunity to visit his village to celebrate the festival with his family and was now returning to work. 'We have been sitting here for the last three hours, all coaches of long distance trains are packed, there is no place to enter despite a reservation. But it is not new, rush in trains is normal after Chhath as migrant workers are returning to work.'





Dileep Kumar, chief public relations officer (CPRO) of East Central Railway (ECR) at its headquarters in Hajipur near Patna, admitted that trains were overcrowded. 'Till Nov 3, there is no berth available for reservation in trains going to Delhi,' he said.





'There is no place in all long distance trains as migrant workers have started returning to work following Chhath,' another migrant worker Ram Parvesh Singh, who works in Bangalore, said.





The railways are running some special trains to clear the rush of passengers. 'We are also attaching extra coaches for passengers in long distance trains,' senior manager of Danapur railway division Om Prakash said here.





Kumar said that in view of the big rush, special trains have been introduced for Secundrabad, New Delhi and Ajmer.





Sun, considered the god of energy and life-force, is worshipped during Chhath for well-being, prosperity and progress.





A rare show of brotherhood and harmony was on display during the festival when people cut across social and religious barriers and gathered to celebrate in villages and towns. Roads and river banks had been cleaned and decorated for the occasion.





The four-day long Chhath festival began Thursday when devotees took a dip in the rivers, a tradition known as 'nahai khai'. It was followed by the ritual of 'kharna' Friday when sweet dishes were prepared. Much to the relief of the authorities, the festival was celebrated peacefully across the state.





The festival, once limited to Bihar, is fast becoming popular across India due to the large scale migration of workers from the state.






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