The number of migrants who have died taking Shramik Specials since May 1 is likely to cross the 100-mark, according to sources in states.
While the Railway Ministry is in the process of collecting the final data from all states as the latter had conducted the post-mortems, sources in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, which received the maximum number of these trains, indicated to The Indian Express that the figure is a little over 100 so far with many states yet to complete data collection.
Railways has officially said that it is still collecting the data and the exercise is not complete as states are yet to send the required data.
With the Monsoon Session of Parliament approaching, the process of the Centre getting the data from states might get expedited, sources in Delhi said, indicating that deaths on Railways premises would be counted. “Shramik Specials are still operational so the process is not complete yet,” said a source.
An interim list had pegged the number of deaths at 80 a month ago — with a lot of data missing — and the Railway Ministry had tried to distance itself from the list containing data on deaths from May 9 to May 27.
Facing criticism on social media over the casualties, Railways had attributed many of the deaths to pre-existing health conditions.
“This is a state subject. States will share the information after they have completed the investigations… All the states have not shared the information yet,” Railway Board Chairman V K Yadav said on Friday. Regarding compensation, Yadav pointed to procedures under the Railway Claims Tribunal on a “case-to-case” basis.
A former chairman of the Tribunal has told The Indian Express that compensation can be given under the “eggshell theory” in law, based on which the RCT has awarded compensation in the past to the kin of a passenger who died on a train.
The list includes cases such as a body found in a toilet in an empty train, a four-year-old boy who died on a platform in Bihar, passengers “not feeling well” through the journey, and those with cancer, heart problem, paralysis, etc. A few deaths were also attributed to Covid-19.
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