PUNE: Indian Railways began operating ‘Shramik’ trains to help stranded migrants head back home. In Pune, there was an overzealous response and on day one, three ‘Shramik’ trains originated from the Pune Junction. 60 PMPML buses with 20 passengers in each, reached the Pune Railway Station to be pleasantly surprised by the volunteers of the Sadhu Vaswani Mission. Biscuits, chiwda, and water while bananas and masala idli’s to some was distributed to the passengers on board the first train. “We were carrying out our daily seva when we saw buses plying and realized that migrants were on their way back home. Immediately, we began the distribution of packaged snacks that were handy with us. For the first train, 900 passengers were given snack packets. “We were better prepared better for the second train. Within 90 minutes, our volunteers had completed packing snack items for 1500 passengers,” added a volunteer. Biscuits, chiwda, two bananas, four pieces of toast, and water were distributed to passengers of the second train. Another 1200 were served on the third train.
“Snacks can be stored and eaten the next day. We hope that it acts as a supplementary meal to what has been provided by the Indian Railways,” said another volunteer.
On 12th May 2020, no train was originating from Pune with two halting at the junction. “We were ready with trolleys and snack items packed according to the total passengers of each coach. As soon as the train halted, we placed the snack packets for each passenger in the coach passage. To coaches that had their doors shut, we gave the snack items through the windows,” said a volunteer. Seeing the preparedness of the Mission’s volunteers, the railways catering staff requested them to help in the distribution of meal items for the second halting train. The volunteers readily took up to the task and assisted the railways in distributing the meals.
“While the train was departing, passengers from all the coaches were waving to us, while many were clapping. The railway’s staff too joined in. It was surreal and overwhelming,” said another volunteer. With the rising temperatures and the deadliness of the pandemic, the volunteers’ seva was commended by many.
A team of 12 volunteers with 4 on rotational basis and others waiting all day, the seva for the passengers has been on full swing. They are stationed there all day from morning till night, waiting to serve all those in need. “It is a joyous experience! We thank God and our Dada, our Beloved Guru, to give us this opportunity to serve. We are thrilled,” remarked a volunteer.
On day one, 3600 snack packets were distributed. On day two, 1300 packets were distributed. On day three, 6000 packets were distributed.
While doing this distribution the volunteers worked with Zero Contact as the packets are placed on tables disinfected frequently. For coach distribution, sacks are prepared and left in the coaches.
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