Aurangabad (Maharashtra) (IANS) Fifteen migrant labourers have died after a goods train ran over a group of 16 labourers asleep on the railway tracks early on Friday in Maharashtra. The home-bound exhausted lot were run over between Jalna and Aurangabad.
A Railway Ministry official told IANS, "At least 14 people died on the spot and two injured in the incident." When the injured were shifted to a government hospital in Ghati, one of them succumbed to his injuries, he added.
A senior railway official confirmed that the migrant group was run over by the goods train running in the Nanded Division of South Central Railway. The incident happened around 5.30 a.m. when the migrants, who were on their way back to their homes fell asleep on the railway tracks.
The official said that an empty petroleum tanker train was proceeding from Cherlapalli in Telangana to Paniwadi, near Manmad in Maharashtra. "After passing Badnapur station, the locopilot saw some people on the tracks and tried to control it and sounded the horn also, but by the time he could do, it was too late," South Central spokesperson Rakesh told IANS.
According to information the workers were walking to Bhusawal from Jalna, and further onward to Madhya Pradesh. rakesh said these people were lying on the tracks. An enquiry has been ordered by the Commissioner, Railway Safety.
A senior railway ministry official in Delhi said that those run over by train are labourers and residents of Madhya Pradesh's Umarya and Shahdol and worked in SRG Company in Maharashtra's Jalna.
He said, as per the statements of the survivors, the group had left Jalna on Thursday at 7 p.m. on foot initially on road upto Badnapore and later on the track towards Aurangabad.
"After walking for about 36 km, they became tired and sat on the track for taking some rest and gradually fell asleep," he said, adding that 14 people sat on the track, two members adjacent to the track and three members away from track.
He said that senior officials of the Nanded division and the Government Rail Police (GRP) and local police had rushed to the accident site.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the deaths on Twitter: "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."
Railway Minister also tweeted: "Today received a saddening news of labourers sleeping on railway tracks run over by a goods train at 5.22 a.m. in Nanded division between Karnad and Badnapur railway station. Relief work is on and an enquiry has been ordered. I pray for the those who lost their lives."
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for the kin of the dead.
Amid the nationwide lockdown that has entered its third phase since coming into effect from March 24, thousands of migrant workers stranded in several cities have been on an unending toil to return to their native places on foot.
The interstate bus service, passenger, mail and express train services have been suspended since March 24. The Railways has started running Shramik Special trains to transport the stranded migrants to their native places since May 1. Till Thursday railways has run 201 Shramik Special trains.