Commuters boarding a Mumbai sub-urban train (Image credit: NDTV)

1952 railway employees, 900 doctors die of COVID-19 in last 14 months

The number of railway employees who lost their lives due to corona virus is more than double of doctors, who have so far succumbed to the pandemic.

According to the Railway Board chairman, Suneet Sharma, so far 1952 railway-men and women have lost their lives since March 2020 when India witnessed first death due to the pandemic. On an average 1,000 railway employees are getting affected by the virus daily.

On the other hand, according to the Indian Medical Association figure available till mid-April, 747 doctors had lost their lives due to COVID-19.

Reports said that in the last three weeks at least 150 more have died and now the toll is around 900. A sizeable number of those who died after the second wave are those doctors who have got one or two doses of the vaccine.

This is apart from a large number of other health-care workers who too have succumbed to the disease—once again a good number of them were vaccinated.

Till mid-April, Tamil Nadu with 89, topped the list of doctors who had died, to be followed by 80 and 74 in West Bengal and Maharashtra respectively.

However, though the death of doctors has got due coverage the media has not highlighted the death of railway employees who are dying at the rate of five daily in the last 14 months though they are also among the front-line workers. Be it in bringing home lakhs of migrant workers after lockdown or transportation of food grains to different states after the announcement of PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana last year or the supply of oxygen in the last one month, railway employees are always on the frontline and exposed to the disease.

There are in all 13 lakh railway employees in India and over one lakh have so far been affected, said Shiva Gopal Mishra, the general secretary of the All India Railwaymen’s Federation. He said that 65,000 of them have recovered and are once again performing duty.

Last week, the All India Railwaymen’s Federation had written a letter to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal demanding compensation at par with frontline workers for railway men who lost their lives while working during the coronavirus period.

The letter demanded payment of Rs 50 lakh as compensation to each bereaved family, same as that announced for frontline workers and not Rs 25 lakh which is normally paid to them.

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