The death cases of migrants in India are increasing day by day. While many migrants are dying of road accidents, starvation, train accidents and dehydration, 7 more deaths were reported on the 27th of May.
Approved by the Union Home Ministry, special trains known as the Shramik Express, carrying stranded migrants across India, started on the 1st of May.
Though the deaths took place in the past few days, it was reported on the 27th of May. The seven deaths reported were 35 year old Uresh Khatoon, a 4 and half year old boy, 70 year old Basisth Mahato, 58 year old Bhushan Singh, Dashrath Prajapati (30), Ram Ratan Gaud (63) and Sheikh Salim (45.)
While four died on board trains travelling to Bihar, three died when their travel ended in Uttar Pradesh. What circumstances on these trains led to their deaths is a big question.
However, Railways officials said that most of the deceased were suffering from existing health conditions.
Many labourers travelling through these special trains complained of extreme heat and hunger to be a reason for the death. The Railways denied and cited different health reasons.
According to the Railway Ministry 35 year old Uresh Khatoon died due to health condition of his recent surgery, the 4 year old died of a poor health condition and Basistha Mahato of heart surgery issues, which he recently had. Mahto was returning with his family after treatment in Mumbai and died between Maihar and Satna, the Railways said.
Other two migrants, Dashrath Prajapati (30), Ram Ratan Gaud (63) were found dead on a Shramik Special train at a Varanasi railway station on the morning of the 27th of May.
The deaths of Dashrath and Ram Ratan were due to kidney disease and other health conditions respectively.
In another such death, Sheikh Salim, was found aboard the Vapi-Deen Dayal Upadhyay Junction Shramik Special train when it reached Sagar station. The reason of his death is yet to be revealed by the Railways. His body has been sent for postmortem and he would be tested for the Novel Coronavirus.
In several reports, the special trains are functioning in a poor way with no food and water for these migrant travellers. Many onboard complained of severe heat, lack of food and water.
In another such complaint, the trains which take 24 hours to reach the destination are running to wrong routes making the travellers to wait for 2 days to their final stop.
However, the Railways denied the allegations and said they are running on “pre-scheduled rationalised routes.”
A spokesperson of the Indian Railways said, “A few deaths have been reported in Shramik special trains. In most of these cases, it is discovered that those who died are old sick people and chronic disease patients, who had actually gone to big cities for medical treatment and could come back only after the Railways started these Shramik Special trains.”
He also said that 78,11,575 meals and 11,07,7,830 water bottles were given to migrant workers on board these trains till the 26th of May.
In regard to this, the Railways issued an order on the 22nd of May and asked the manager of each railway zone to spend up to Rs. 1 lakh on each Shramik Special train to arrange meals for the workers.
Meanwhile, Twitter is flooded with criticism of the Indian Railways, which are making these stranded labourers suffer and starve to death.
Migrants in India have become the headlines during the pandemic crisis for many reasons. Since the lockdown started, the issues of approximately 40 lakh stranded migrants have been a matter of concern for several political parties to point out and also the most suffered class due to the lockdown in India.
Stay tuned for further updates.