Headlines May 31, 2020
80 deaths of migrant workers reported on Shramik trains
There have been almost 80 deaths on board the Shramik Special trains for stranded migrant workers) between 9 to 27 May. This is according to data from the Railway Protection Force.
The trains have transported around five million migrant workers back home since they were launched on 1 May. The Railways Ministry said that most of the deaths were of patients with chronic diseases who were in the cities for medical treatment and could come back home only after the special trains were launched.
At a press conference, VK Yadav, Railways Board Chairman called the deaths a big loss and said that the Indian Railways has a control system were the train is immediately stopped if someone is found ill.
“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”, said Yadav.
According to reports heat, exhaustion and thirst are among the main issues faced by the passengers on board the trains.
Railways minister Piyush Goyal has issued a statement appealing to people suffering from ailments to avoid travel by Shramik Trains. “I appeal to people suffering from serious ailments, pregnant women & those above 65 years and below 10 years of age to travel only when necessary in Shramik Trains. Railway Parivaar is committed to ensuring safety of all passengers,” he said.
On Thursday, in an interim order, the Supreme Court said states where the workers are boarding trains and Indian Railways should provide food and water to the migrants.
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