As many as 80 passengers of Shramik Special trains died on board or at railway hospitals between May 9 and 27, says data compiled by Railway Protection Force ( RPF).
The Shramik Special trains were started on May 1 to ferry stranded migrant labourers and students to their home states. The Indian Railways operated 3,840 Shramik Special trains till May 27 and ferried over 50 lakh passengers to their home states.
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As per data compiled by RPF, of the total death, 11 passengers died due to comorbidites, one person died due to suspected COVID-19 and three died while trying to jump from running trains. For remaining passengers' death, the railways is waiting for post mortem reports to find out the exact reason, said the official.
The railways official also said that all did not die on board Shramik Special trains. Some died at railway hospitals and few persons died at railway stations due to sickness, he said.
The railway faced a lot of criticism after several passengers travelling in Shramik Special trains complained of exhaustion due to lack of water and food during journey.
Several political parties alleged that passengers died due to exhaustation, heat and hunger. However, railways refused to comment on the list of 80 passengers' death.
"In case of deaths, the local zones investigate the reason and without an investigation, there are allegations that they died of hunger when there was no shortage of food. Some deaths occurred and we are compiling the figures... we will issue the figures in a few days," Railway Board Chairman, VK Yadav told media on Friday.
He also said that "Indian Railways has a control system whereby a train is immediately stopped if someone is found ill and they are sent to the nearest hospital."
Those died in trains are aged between 4 to 85 years. Maximum of 18 persons' death have been reported in North East Central Zone followed by North Central Zone with 13 deaths.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal earlier also appealed public with pre-existing health problems, pregnant women, persons over 65 years of age and children below 10 years to avoid unnecessary journey.