New Delhi: Amid reports of people dying onboard Shramik Special trains, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday appealed to people suffering from serious ailments, pregnant women and people above 65 years of age to travel by train only when necessary.
In a tweet, Goyal said, “I appeal to people suffering from serious ailments, pregnant women and those above 65 years and below 10 years of age to travel only when necessary in Shramik Trains. Railway Parivaar is committed to ensuring safety of all passengers.”
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.
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) May 29, 2020
His remarks came in the wake a video going viral on social media of a toddler trying to wake his dead mother at Bihar’s Muzaffarpur railway station.
The Railway Ministry also issued a statement appealing people to travel only when necessary.
The national transporter said, “Indian Railways has been running Shramik Special trains on a daily basis throughout the country to ensure that migrants can travel back to their homes. It has been observed that some people, who are availing this service, have pre-existing medical conditions which aggravate the risk they face during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“A few unfortunate cases of deaths related to pre-existing medical conditions while travelling have occured.”
The Railways said that in order to protect vulnerable persons from Covid-19 in line with the Ministry of Home Affairs’ order dated May 17, the Ministry of Railways is making an appeal that persons with comorbidities — such as hypertension, diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, cancer and immune deficiency conditions — and 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 further said that railways is working round the clock to ensure that rail services are provided to all the citizens of the country needing to undertake travel.
“But safety of our passengers is our biggest concern. So, we seek the cooperation of all the citizens in this matter,” it said, adding that in case of any distress or emergency, people should not hesitate to reach out to the Railways on its helpline numbers — 139 and 138.
The Railways had suspended passenger, mail and express train services from March 25 amid the nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of novel coronavirus.
The Railways started running Shramik Special trains from May 1 to transport stranded migrant workers, students, pilgrims and tourists.
Till date, it has operated more than 3,600 Shramik Special trains and ferried over 50 lakh people.
The Railways also started to run 30 Special Rajdhani Express trains from May 12 and plans to run 200 special mail and express trains from June onwards.