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Over 8,700 people died on tracks in 2020 lockdown — many of them were migrants

Greater than 8,700 folks, a lot of them mentioned to be migrant employees, had been mowed down on railway tracks in 2020 regardless of passenger practice providers being severely curtailed by the nationwide lockdown.

The Railway Board shared the information on the entire deaths between January and December 2020 in its reply to a query by Madhya Pradesh-based activist Chandra Shekhar Gaur beneath the Proper to Info Act.

“Primarily based on the data acquired from the State Police, 805 folks suffered accidents and eight,733 folks died on the railway observe between January 2020 and December 2020,” the Railway Board mentioned.

Officers individually mentioned most of the lifeless had been migrant employees who selected to stroll dwelling alongside the tracks as practice routes are thought of shorter than roads or highways.

They mentioned the employees additionally selected the tracks to evade the police and never get misplaced halfway. “In addition they assumed that no trains can be working due to the lockdown,” one of many officers mentioned.

Railway Spokesperson DJ Narain mentioned that such incidents occur on the tracks “not attributable to accidents however due to trespassing”. “It’s a civic subject of concern. The Railways has at all times made big efforts in sensitising trespassers to keep away from strolling on tracks. Round 70,000 km of rail tracks are unfold throughout the nation with over 17,000 trains of every kind working every day. Deaths on tracks of trespassers is unlucky and unhappy. Our concern on security of passenger and residents is second to none.”

“These sorts of accidents maybe happen extra on roads attributable to careless road-crossings,” Narain mentioned, claiming that there have been no casualties attributable to any “practice accident” within the final two years.

Whereas the fatalities throughout 2020 had been fewer in comparison with the 4 years instantly earlier than that, the numbers are nonetheless important given the truth that the passenger providers had been restricted after the lockdown was introduced on March 25.

Solely freight trains had been in operation throughout the lockdown earlier than the Railways began Shramik Particular trains from Might 1 to ferry migrant employees dwelling.

Passenger providers have been reopening in phases, and by December, round 1,100 particular trains had been in operation together with 110 common passenger trains.

The providers have now been restored to 70 per cent of the pre-Covid visitors.

Whereas many fatalities on tracks final 12 months went unregistered, the deaths of 16 migrant employees after being run over by a freight practice in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad final Might rattled many. They had been resting on the tracks pondering no practice can be working as a result of Covid suspension.

In response to Railways figures, compiled from state governments, 56,271 folks died and 5,938 had been injured in such incidents between 2016 and 2019. These deaths had been an growing development, with 2017 an exception.

As many 14,032 folks died in such accidents in 2016, 12,838 in 2017, 14,197 in 2018 and 15,204 in 2019, the figures confirmed.

Nonetheless, the Railways don’t take into account these deaths “railway accidents”.

Railway’s loss of life statistics are maintained in three types — consequential accidents, trespassing and untoward incidents.

These deaths come beneath the class of “untoward incidents” or “trespassing”, and are investigated by the state police. The victims are additionally compensated by state governments involved.

The Railways has carried out huge campaigns to scale back such deaths and likewise paid ex gratia to the kin of the sufferer on sympathetic grounds in some instances.

The measures taken by the Railways embody elimination of unmanned-level crossings over the broad gauge community, sign modernisation, using fashionable machines in upkeep, amongst others.

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