As per the Railway Protection Force data accessed by the daily, the deceased fell in the age group of 4 to 95 and these deaths were recorded across different zones, including 18 deaths in the North Eastern Railway zone, 13 in the East Coast Railway zone, and 19 in the North Central zone. The data also enlists mentions co-morbidities and accidents as causes of death.
The Shramik trains were started on 1 May after migrant labourers started walking back home because of the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. According to the Railways, till 28 May, 52 lakh passengers were moved, of which 20 lakh were moved in the first week of starting the operations.
Speaking to the press on Friday, 29 May, Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav said that anybody’s death is a big loss and that Railways is working to ensure that they save lives.
“Indian Railways has a control system. In case someone is sick, then the train is stopped and the person is sent to the nearest hospital base to try and save them. This is the reason why many passengers were attended to and many deliveries also took place,” Yadav said.
Referring to the reports of deaths of migrants on the trains due to hunger, Yadav said, “We have analysed and found that there was no food shortage in the trains. If 1,500 passengers were travelling then 1,499 reached safely.”
He further added that the figures are being compiled and will be made available in a few days.
Railway Had Appealed to People at Risk to Avoid Travelling
Earlier this week, after reports on the death of nine passengers onboard Shramik trains emerged, the Railways had appealed to people with co-morbidities to avoid travel.
“In order to protect vulnerable persons from COVID-19, the Ministry of Railways makes an appeal that persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, children below the age of 10 and persons above 65 years of age may avoid travel by rail, except when it is essential,” it said.
The Railways acknowledged the deaths but said that they were linked to “pre-existing medical conditions.”
(With inputs from Hindustan Times)