In 2020, about 8700 people died on the railway tracks, most of the migrant laborers died.

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In 2020, about 8700 people died on the railway tracks, most of the migrant laborers died

In 2020, around 8,700 people were crushed to death on railway tracks, despite drastic cuts in passenger train services due to the nationwide lockdown imposed last year due to the coronavirus. Officials have said that most of the dead were migrant labourers. The Railway Board has shared the data of such deaths in the period between January and December 2020 in response to a question asked by Madhya Pradesh-based activist Chandrashekhar Gaur under the Right to Information Act.

The Railway Board said, based on the information received from the state police, 805 people were injured and 8733 people died on railway tracks between January 2020 and December 2020. Officials separately said that most of these deceased were migrant laborers who opted to walk along the tracks to reach home as rail routes are considered shorter than roads or highways.

He said that these workers also opted to pass through the tracks because it would have saved them from the police for violating the lockdown rules and they also believed that they would not lose their way. He also admitted that no train would be running due to the lockdown, an official said. Last year’s train crush deaths may have been less than the four years before that, but the number is still huge as passenger train services were banned since the lockdown was announced on March 25 in the wake of the coronavirus.

During the lockdown, only freight trains were operating and later the Railways started Shramik Special trains from May 1 to transport migrant laborers. Passenger services were reopened in a phased manner and around 1,100 special trains were operating till December. Simultaneously 110 regular passenger trains were also running. 70 percent train services running in the pre-Covid period have now been restored.

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