Railway Minister Piyush Goyal informed the Rajya Sabha on Saturday, 19 September, that a total of 97 people reportedly died while travelling on-board Shramik Special Trains between 1 May and 9 September.
While responding to a query by TMC MP Derek O’Brien regarding the number of deaths, the railway minister also revealed that in cases of unnatural deaths, the police registers FIRs under Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
"“Out of these 97 deaths, police sent the bodies for post-mortem in 87 cases. In all, 51 post-mortem reports have been obtained from the respective state police so far, in which the reasons for deaths have been shown as cardiac arrest, heart disease, brain haemorrhage, pre-existing chronic disease, chronic lung disease, chronic liver disease etc.”" - Piyush Goyal, Railway Minister
This comes after the government refused to share any information on the number of deaths while responding to an RTI query on 7 July by activist Anjali Bharadwaj. The information was denied on the grounds that the data was available with the state police.
Apart from revealing the data on deaths, Goyal also stated that the Railways had not collected any fares from the migrants.
"“Shramik Specials were booked by the state governments or their representatives on payment of fare. Revenue of Rs 433 crore was collected from them for running the Shramik Special trains till 31 August. As many as 63.19 lakh shramiks/stranded passengers travelled in these trains.” " - Piyush Goyal, Railway Minister
After suspending passenger, mail and Express train services from 25 March, Railways started Shramik Special trains from 1 May to transport stranded migrant workers, students, pilgrims and tourists.
(With inputs from IANS)
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