New Delhi, Dec 21: COVID-19 pandemic has made a severe impact on Indian Railways with about 700 employees lost their lives while around 30,000 got infected so far in the last nine months.
Besides, the national transporter has lost revenue from the passenger segment on account of regular passenger trains being suspended due to the corona virus. Passenger earnings fell from Rs 53,000 cr in the previous year to just Rs 4,600 crore this year, down by 87% compared to last year.
According to the Railways, the passenger revenue is expected to go up to Rs 15,000 crore by March 2021 in the current fiscal.
The pandemic also created havoc for migrant workers with as many as 97 persons died in Shramik Special trains which were run during the nationwide lock-down to bring back migrants to their native states.
Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav had said that around 30,000 railway employees have been infected with corona virus so far and hailed their sacrifice for the public during the pandemic.
“It is true that around 30,000 railway employees were infected with COVID. However, the way that we have developed and provided treatment to our employees, most of them have recovered. However, there have been some unfortunate deaths. Railways have opened COVID care centres and COVID care facilities in every zone and division and we have taken care of each one of our employees,” Yadav said.
He further said, “In the beginning we had dedicated 50 hospitals for COVID care now there are 74 such hospitals.”
According to sources, the death toll in railways is about 700, mostly frontline staff, so far till now.
Most of the 700 employees who died due to corona virus were all who were involved in direct contact with the general public and most susceptible to the disease. They were frontline workers who helped the Railways facilitate the movement of migrants and run the special trains. They were on platforms and in areas where catching the infection was most probable. They are like railways’ unsung heroes.
In a reply in Parliament, the Railway Ministry had said no compensation is granted to the families of the railway employees who die during performance of their bona fide duties. The compensation is granted in the form of ex gratia payment as per the guidelines of the Department of Pension and Pensioners Welfare. However, death on account of any disease is not included in these guidelines.
According to the reply, a maximum of over 2,200 infections were reported by the South Central Railway, followed by 1,323 cases in the Central Railway, 1,307 in the Northern Railway, 1,145 in the Southern Railway and 1,013 cases in the East Central Railway.
India’s COVID-19 caseload surpassed the one-crore mark on Saturday, adding 10 lakh cases in nearly a month, while the total number of recoveries surged to 95.50 lakh.