Train runs over 16 migrant workers
Pune, May 8
Sixteen migrant workers were mowed down by an empty freight train in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district in the early hours of Friday. While 14 of them died on the spot, two of them later succumbed to injuries.
The workers, who were walking to Bhusawal from Jalna to board a “Shramik Special” train to return to Madhya Pradesh, were sleeping on the railway line when the mishap occurred between Badnapur and Karmad stations in Nanded Division.
Expressing grief over the incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Extremely anguished by the loss of lives due to the rail accident in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. Have spoken to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and he is closely monitoring the situation. All possible assistance required is being provided.”
Inspector Satish Khetmalas of Aurangabad Rural police said the migrant workers must have fallen asleep on the tracks due to exhaustion.
“All the 20 workers were walking from Jalna to Bhusawal, which is about 150 kilometers. They stopped after walking for about 45 kilometers for some rest and fell asleep on the tracks. A goods train ran over them at around 5.15 am,” he said.
The empty train was heading from Cherlapally Station near Hyderabad to Panewadi Station near Manmad in Nashik. The motormen tried to bring the train to a halt but failed to do so, an official said.
“The loco pilot noticed some persons along the tracks. He honked and also tried to stop the train but failed to contain the speed before hitting those lying on the tracks,” Chief Public Relations Officer of South Central Railway Ch Rakesh said. He added that an inquiry has been ordered under the Commissioner of Railway Safety, SCR.
“During early hours today after seeing some labourers on track, loco pilot of goods train tried to stop the train but eventually hit them between Badnapur and Karmad stations in Parbhani-Manmad section. Injured have been taken to Aurangabad Civil Hospital. Inquiry has been ordered,” the Railway Ministry tweeted.
One person was critically injured and is undergoing treatment at a Government hospital. Three others, who were sleeping away from the tracks, escaped unhurt.
The Madhya Pradesh Government has decided to send a team of officials on a special plane to Aurangabad to arrange for the last rites of the labourers. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also announced a compensation of Rs five lakh each to the kin of the deceased, and demanded an inquiry into the incident.
Former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said there should be an impartial probe into the mishap. He sought to know if the Madhya Pradesh Government had registered these workers and if it had made any arrangement to bring them home.
The Maharashtra Government also announced a similar relief for the families of the deceased and urged migrants to not risk their lives. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray also said he is in talks with the Government for more trains to ferry those stranded. “Don't risk your lives in desperation to go home,” he said. Several migrant workers have hit the streets, in an attempt to return home, ever since the Nationwide lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic coming into force. The Indian Express