New Delhi: Up to 80 deaths have been reported in Shramik trains that ran between May 9 and May 27, said Railway Protection Force. These trains are being used to ferry stranded migrant workers stuck in different parts of India since the beginning of nationwide lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
The Shramik special train services were launched on May 1 and till now more than 3,840 trains have been put into service. On May 27, there were reports of nine deaths on board these Shramik trains over the past few days but the railway ministry clarified that deaths happened as they were chronic disease patients and many of whom got stuck in different parts of the country when they went for treatment.
Railway board chairman VK Yadav during a press conference said: “Anyone’s death is a big loss… Indian Railways has a control system were the train is immediately stopped if someone is found ill and they are sent to the nearest hospital base to try and save their lives. Many such passengers were attended to and many deliveries also took place. I can imagine the plight of labourers travelling even in these conditions. In case of deaths, the local zones investigate the reason and without an investigation, there are allegations that they died of hunger when there was no shortage of food. Some deaths occurred and we are compiling the figures… we will issue the figures in a few days.”
There have been 18 deaths in the North Eastern Railway zone, 19 in North Central zone and 13 in East Coast Railway zone. Nearly 80% of total Shramik trains are destined for Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and ply on these zones.