New Delhi: The railways on Tuesday said the consent of the destination states is not required to operate Shramik Special trains, hours after the home ministry issued a standard operating procedure (SoP) for the national transporter to run these trains to ferry migrants to their native places.

“Consent of terminating state not necessary to run Shramik Special trains,” railway spokesperson Rajesh Bajpai said.

“After the new SoP, the implication is that no consent of the receiving state is mandatory,” he said.

Earlier, a political storm had broken out when railway minister Piyush Goyal said that West Bengal, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh were being laggard in approving these trains.

The standard operating procedure issued by MHA on May 1 said that the sending state was mandated to receive consent of the receiving state before departure of the train.

The new protocol comes as the Centre looks to expedite the process, as close to three weeks since these trains began operating, migrants, who have been worst hit by the outbreak of COVID-19, are still taking the road to return home.

Since May 1, the railways department has run 1,565 migrant trains and ferried over 20 lakh migrants.

The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 3,163 and the number of cases climbed more than 1 lakh today registering an increase of 134 deaths and 4,970 cases of coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours since Monday 8 am.