Nearly 10 months after 16 migrant labourers were run over by a goods train in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district, some of the families in Shahdol and Umaria districts of Madhya Pradesh are still awaiting the death certificates of the victims.
Ashok Singh, from Antauli village, lost five members of his family, including his son Dipak Singh. While Mr Singh received a compensation of Rs 13 lakh, he fears that without the death certificate, he might be deprived of other government schemes.
“We have received compensation, but death certificate still eludes us. We fear that we might not be able to avail the houses promised under the Prime Minister Housing Scheme and benefits under other schemes without death certificates,” he said.
“I have some land at my disposal, but to ensure that my grandson and daughter-in-law have secure a future, I need help,” he added.
“Despite repeated correspondences with the Maharashtra government, we are yet to get the death certificates of the men killed on May 8, 2020,” Sub-Divisional Magistrate Jaisinagar Dilip Pandey said, adding they will again write to the concerned authorities.
20 migrant labourers, working in a steel manufacturing unit in Jalna district, adjoining Aurangabad, were trying to return to their home state, Madhya Pradesh on foot, on May 7 last year during the Covid lockdown.
The labourers, who had missed the Shramik Special train, had decided to rest on the tracks near Karnad, around 30 km from Aurangabad, after walking for about 36 km. However, 16 of them who had fallen asleep during the night were mowed down by the train coming from Jalna.
Four of them survived the accident which took place at 5:15 am. Three of them were sleeping away from the tracks.
Rendered jobless due to the lockdown and desperate to go to their native places, they were walking along the rail tracks apparently to escape police attention, officials had said.
The migrant workers were among those killed following the sudden nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year that left lakhs of people stranded without income, shelter, food and jobs.
Many walked for days to their native homes and died on the way. The government has told parliament it has no record of how many people were killed during the crisis.