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Published On: Sat, Sep 19th, 2020

97 Migrants died on-board Shramik trains, govt tells Rajya Sabha

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Patna: Migrants board 'Shramik Special' train at Danapur railway station to reach their native places, during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown, in Patna, Wednesday, May 20, 2020. (PTI Photo)(PTI20-05-2020_000075B)

NEW DELHI : Days after the Narendra Modi Modi government faced flak over the labour ministry’s response that it had no data available on the number of migrant workers who died during the nationwide lockdown enforced on 25 March.
The railways ministry Friday informed the Rajya Sabha that 97 people were reported dead till 9 September while travelling on-board Shramik special trains. These trains were started by the government to ferry migrant workers to their native states during the lockdown period.
The statement of the Minister comes after the government came under criticism when the Labour Ministry earlier this week informed Parliament that no data is available on the number of migrant workers who lost their lives during the 68-day lockdown enforced on March 25, 2020, to curb the spread of the COVID-19.
In a written answer to a question posed by TMC MP Derek O’Brien on Friday, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal provided the statistics to the upper house of parliament.
“Based on the data provided by State Police, 97 persons have been reported dead till 09.09.2020 while travelling onboard Shramik Special Trains during current Covid-19 situation/crisis,” the minister said.
51 post mortem reports have been obtained from respective state police so far, in which the reasons for deaths have been shown as cardiac arrest/heart disease/brain hemorrhage/pre-existing chronic disease/chronic lung disease/chronic liver disease etc.”
In his reply, the minister also said that “policing on railways being a State subject, prevention of crime, registration of cases, their investigation and maintenance of law & order in railway premises as well as on running trains are the statutory responsibility of the State Governments, which they discharge through Government Railway Police (GRP)/District Police.

“The State Police registers case under Section 174 of CrPC in cases of unnatural deaths and follows further legal process,” the reply added. The minister further said that the “railways have not collected fare from Shramiks”. “Shramik specials were booked by State Governments or representative of State Governments on payment of fare.
Revenue of Rs 433 crores has been collected from State Governments and their representatives for running of Shramik Special trains till 31.08.2020. Total 63.19 lakh Shramiks/Stranded passengers have travelled in these trains,” Goyal said.
On 14 September, Union Minister of Labour and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar had informed Parliament that the exodus saw over one crore migrant workers return to their native states.
Lakhs of migrant labourers found themselves without any means of livelihood when the Centre announced the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. The Modi government had faced flak for not responding to the plight of migrant workers initially.

“Based on the data provided by State Police, 97 persons have been reported dead till 09.09.2020 while travelling on board Shramik Special Trains during current Covid-19 situation/crisis,” the minister said.
The statement of the minister comes after the government came under criticism when the labour ministry earlier this week informed parliament that no data is available on the number of migrant workers who lost their lives during the 68-day lock down enforced on March 25 to curb the spread of the COVID-19.
In all, 4,621 Shramik Special trains were operated between May 1 and August 31, carrying 6,319,000 passengers to their home states, the ministry said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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