The Nanded Division of South Central Railway has denied reports that 16 migrant labourers, who were run over by a goods train near Karmad railway station in Aurangabad district, had walked along the railway tracks all the way from Jalna. “We have verified with our staff at the nearby railway stations and the railway gates. Nobody had seen the group walking along the railway tracks,” Divisional Railway Manager Upinder Singh told The Indian Express.
“The driver of the goods train heading towards Manmad noticed the labourers sleeping on the tracks and honked repeatedly… and applied emergency brakes, but could not save the lives of the labourers,” said Singh. He said there was a parallel road along the railway tracks and a small opening which led to the track. “We believe that the labourers used the small opening to enter the railway track area so that they could take a break. But it is not true that they walked all the way from Jalna along the tracks,” he said.
However, in his official statement about the incident, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said, “The migrant labourers were walking along the railway tracks from Jalna to Aurangabad. They slept on the railway tracks when the accident occurred”.
When asked about the CM’s statement, Singh said, “We are not sure where the workers came from… whether Jalna or some other area. But we believe that they did not walk along the tracks as no one from railway stations or railway gates had spotted them. We have verified this fact from our railway employees.”
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) also denied that the labourers had walked long the railway tracks.
“The survivors told us that they started walking along the railway tracks near Badnapur, which is a kilometre or so from the accident spot. The survivors said they had no intention to sleep on the track, but they got tired and fell asleep,” said a RPF official.
Haribhau Bagade, former chairman of the state Legislative Assembly, said the labourers were headed to Aurangabad after learning that a Shramik Special train would be available from the city to their home town in Madhya Pradesh
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