After flak over Shramik, Rlys says only 71 out of 3,840 trains diverted
Over the past few days, at least nine people lost their lives in different Shramik trains, for which the reasons were allegedly lack of supply of food and waterby Shine Jacob
After facing flak from the Supreme Court and the public over the death of migrant workers and diversion of Shramik trains, the Indian Railways on Friday said it has diverted only 1.8 per cent of the total 3,840 trains operated so far.
A senior railway official said there were some reported deaths on trains and station premises and the government was looking into the reasons. Over the past few days, at least nine people lost their lives in different Shramik trains, for which the reasons were allegedly lack of supply of food and water, though the Indian Railways said some of these passengers had health issues.
Addressing the media, the Railway Board chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav said, “We are looking into the reasons of the deaths as some happened on trains and some happened within the station premises.”
Following the deaths, the Railways on Friday said persons with co-morbidities (hypertension, diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, cancer, immune deficiency conditions), pregnant women, children below the age of 10 years and persons above 65 years of age should avoid travel by rail, except when it is essential.
Shramik train services started on May 1 and operated around 3,840 trains till May 28, transporting around 5.2 million people. According to a government data, over 9.1 million migrants travelled by these trains and by road transport till Thursday. In the last one week, the Railways alone handled over two million people and transported them on 1,524 trains.
Speaking about the rising number of deaths on trains, Yadav said, “Deaths are disappointing. However, it is not because of the availability of food or water. We have ensured its adequate supply on these trains."
The court on Thursday had directed the destination states to pool the travel expenses of migrant workers and had asked the Railways to provide migrant workers with drinking water and meals.
On the diversion of trains, Yadav said only 71 out of the total 3,840 trains were diverted and that, too, between May 20 to May 24. “There was a higher demand of trains from states, like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, during that time. Between May 20-24, we were running over 270 trains a day and 90 per cent of them were scheduled for the two states. This has led to a congestion on network,” he said.
According to a railway data, only four trains in 28 days took more than four days to reach their destination. “Around 90 per cent trains were running at the speed of mail/express trains. Remaining 10 per cent also saw a delay of only two to four hours,” Yadav said. He added the national transporter has accommodated the requests of almost all the sending states. The maximum number of trains were operated on May 20 with 279 trains. While on May 24, the demand from states was 923, it declined to 450 as on May 28, according to railway data.