New Delhi, May 29 : Facing criticism over diverting the Shramik Special trains through longer routes without intimating the passengers, Chairman Railway Board V.K. Yadav on Friday refuted the claims that the trains “lost” their ways and said that 71 trains were diverted out of the total 3,840 Shramik Specials run so far.
He said only four trains were delayed by over 72 hours to reach their destinations since railways started operating on May 1. Addressing a press conference here, Yadav also said that 90 per cent of these migrant trains ran with an average speed higher than regular mail express trains.
“From 20-24 May, 71 trains were diverted because of high demand for trains to UP, Bihar, where 90 per cent trains were going from across the country,” Yadav said, adding that out of which only four were delayed more than 72 hours to reach their destination. He said that among the destination-states for which the trains were diverted were Bihar (51), Uttar Pradesh (16), Jharkhand (2), Assam and Manipur (1 each).
He said among the originating-states for which trains were diverted included Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan. The clarifications came amid criticism over delays that the migrant trains were getting “lost” before reaching their destinations and passengers taking to social media criticising the national transporter for delays in their journey.
The Chairman said that till May 28, 3,840 Shramik Specials have been operated that ferried a total of 52 lakh passengers. He further said that 1,524 Shramik trains operated in last one week and over 20 lakh passengers were ferried. “Railways has accommodated almost all requests received from the sending states and we are ready to meet all demand of Shramik movements,” he said, adding “as of now we have demand for around 492 trains”.
When asked about the total number of deaths of passengers while travelling in the Shramik Special trains, he said that the national transporter was compiling a list of people who died on the trains as he urged everyone with pre-existing health conditions, pregnant women and the aged to avoid unnecessary travel.
The railways has faced criticism after a video of toddler trying to wake his dead mother at Bihar’s Muzaffarpur railway station on May 25. The woman was travelling to Katihar from a Shramik Special train that has started its journey from Gujarat’s Ahmedabad.