Ninety-seven passengers died on-board the Shramik Special trains that operated from May 1 to ferry migrant labourers back home, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has told the Parliament.
This figure refers to those who specifically died on the trains. It was provided in response to a question by TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien. “Whether Railways has details of total number of deaths that occurred on board the Shramik Special trains since they started operating?” was O’Brien’s query.
“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…,” Goyal said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.
A similar question asked in the Lok Sabha two days ago by Congress MP N Uttam Kumar Reddy was met with the same response.
Sources said the replies were to what was being precisely asked.
Goyal said that of the 97 deaths, 87 bodies were sent by state police personnel for an autopsy with reports coming back for 51. Based on these, 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”.
From May to August, the Railways ran 4,621 Shramik Special trains which mostly originated from Gujarat and Maharashtra. Most of these trains terminated in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
No norms on Covid death compensation: Goyal
In a separate reply to a question by TMC Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen, Goyal said 336 Railways employees died due to Covid-19, but there are no guidelines for compensating the family in case of deaths due to disease.
“Compensation to the family of deceased Railway servants who die during performance of their bonafide duties is granted in the form of ex-gratia payment as per guidelines of Department of Pension and Pensioners Welfare. However, death on account of any disease is not included in these guidelines. As many as 14714 railway employees were found COVID-19 positive so far,” Goyal said.
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