The railway tracks where the accident happened.
The railway tracks where the accident happened.
File photo

BHOPAL: The Maharashtra government has taken almost a year to issue death certificates to the kin of the 16 migrant labourers from Madhya Pradesh who had lost their lives after being run over by a goods train during the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown early in the morning on May 8, 2020, in Aurangabad district. All the families of the 16 deceased got the death certificates which were finally issued by Maharashtra after 10 months. On March 24, 2021, Free Press had raised the issue.

Free Press, on March 24, 2021, had reported about the 16 families in Shahdol, Umaria and Katni districts of Madhya Pradesh awaiting the death certificates of their loved ones — even 10 months after their demise. The collector of Umaria, Sanjiv Shrivastrava, said that the certificates had been issued by the Maharashtra government and they had been provided to the victims’ families.

The collector also said that the compensation and the monthly widow pension on the basis of the post-mortem examination reports, besides other government-aided facilities, were given to the families. “The death certificate didn’t hinder the families availing of any beneficiary schemes”.

Representational picture
Representational picture

How the event unfolded

It is, however, still not clear why the authorities in Maharashtra took over 10 months to issue the death certificates, which they did on March 31, 2021, in just 24 hours.

Ten of those dead hailed from Shahdol district, out of whom nine belonged to one village, Antauli, in Jaisinagar tehsil of the district. The remaining six deceased hailed from Umaria and Katni districts.

All the 16 men worked in steel factories in Maharashtra’s Jalna town and had lost their jobs amid the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown and had, subsequently, decided to return home on foot on the evening of May 7, 2020, after missing the Shramik Special train.

After walking for 40-odd kilometres, these workers had started feeling tired and had sat on the tracks between Karnad and Badnapur railway stations for a little rest.

Exhausted, they fell into a deep slumber and, around 5.22 am, the train ran over them.

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