Railways asks people with serious health issues to take trains only if necessary1 min read . Updated: 29 May 2020, 12:22 PM IST
- Railways has been drawing flak over the last few days due to inordinate delay of Shramik Special trains
- Railways have maintained that those who died in the trains were old and with chronic disease
NEW DELHI: Railway minister Piyush Goyal on Friday urged passengers with serious health issues, senior citizens, pregnant women and children below 10 years of age to board Shramik Special trains only for essential travel.
Indian Railways has been drawing flak over the last few days due to inordinate delay of Shramik Special trains owing to route congestion and inadequate supply of food and water. Reports of death of some passengers traveling on these trains over the past few days have triggered concerns over the lack of basic necessities amid the intense heatwave.
"I appeal to people suffering from serious ailments, pregnant women & those above 65 years & below 10 years of age to travel only when necessary in Shramik Trains," Goyal said in a tweet.
Railways have maintained that those who died in the trains were old and with chronic disease, and had travelled to urban areas for medical treatment. They could return only after Railways started these Shramik Special trains, the ministry said on Wednesday.
"A few unfortunate cases of deaths related to pre-existing medical conditions while travelling have happened," an official statement said on Friday.
"In order to protect the vulnerable person from covid-19, Ministry of Railways makes an appeal that persons with co-morbidities (for example - hypertension, diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, cancer, immune deficiency conditions), pregnant women, children below the age of 10 years and persons above 65 years of age may avoid travel by rail, except when it is essential," it said.
Special trains carrying migrant workers were flagged off from various cities on 1 May for the first time since the lockdown was enforced on 25 March. The special trains are ferrying stranded migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists and students.
On Saturday, the Railway Board chairman said the national transporter will ferry 36 lakh stranded passengers in 2,600 Shramik Special trains across the country in the next ten days. He said the ministry has been constantly coordinating with the state governments so that migrant workers can reach home at the earliest.
Indian Railways has run more than 3,500 Shramik Special trains in 26 days. Around 48 lakh stranded migrants have been transported till now to their home states. Most of the workers have travelled to states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.