Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 30
With reports of 80 deaths of migrants on board Shramik Special trains, the Railways is trying to ascertain if these were due to Covid-19, co-morbidity or sheer hunger and exhaustion.
The deaths have occurred across several zones, including the East Central Railway zone, North Eastern Railway zone, Northern Railway Zone and North Central Railway zone. This prompted Railway Minister Piyush Goyal to issue an appeal on Friday. “I appeal to people suffering from serious ailments, pregnant women and those above 65 years and below 10 years of age to travel only if necessary in Shramik trains”
A total of 52 lakh migrants have been ferried on 3,840 such trains, Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav had told a press conference on Friday. He refused to give the number and cause of deaths, saying the doctors were looking into the matter.
“In case of deaths, local zones investigate the reasons... there are allegations that they (migrants) died of hunger when there was no shortage of food. We will issue the figure in a few days. The Railways has a control system wherein the train is immediately stopped if someone is found ill and he/she is sent to the nearest hospital. Many such passengers were attended to. Many deliveries took place too,” he said.
The Railways had on Wednesday clarified that most of those who had died were “chronic patients”, who were under treatment in hospitals in cities but had boarded Shramik Specials to rush to their native places. The Railway Protection Force and the Government Railway Police Force, that deals with security issues on the ground at stations, are collating data.
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