At least 80 stranded migrants who had boarded Shramik Special trains between May 9 to May 27 have lost their lives amid the lockdown enforced due to novel coronavirus pandemic, said a report in HT.
Out of these deaths, 18 occurred in the North Eastern Railway zone, 19 in North Central zone and 13 in East Coast Railway zone. The ages of the dead ranged from 4 to 85.
The Shramik Special trains were launched on May 1 to ferry stranded migrant labourers back to their native places. Meanwhile, the data between May 1 and May 8 was not available, said the report.
A zonal railway officer said, “Heat, exhaustion and thirst are among the primary issues faced by the passengers on board these trains. We have seen several of such cases over the past month.”
Meanwhile, Northern Railways’ spokesperson said that he wasn't aware of the total numbers. “I am not aware of the total numbers but in all the cases that we know of there were health conditions like one person had heart valve replaced, one had hypertension. But to say that the primary reason of deaths is hunger is not correct," he said.
On Friday, Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav said that a total of 52 lakh passengers have been moved through 3,840 Shramik Special trains till yesterday (Thursday).
"Shramik Special trains will continue to run till the time the migrants don't reach their destinations. We will schedule the trains on the same day as we get demand from originating state and we will run the train on the next day itself," Yadav added.
Also, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said that those suffering from serious ailments, pregnant women and those above 65 years and below 10 years of age to travel only when necessary in Shramik Trains.
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