Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways has lost 1,952 employees, including frontline staff such as station masters, to the COVID-19 pandemic since last year. Even now, nearly 1,000 railwaymen are getting infected by covid on a daily basis, according to the Railways Ministry.
Suneet Sharma, Chairman Railway Board, was quoted in an IE report saying that as of now, the national transporter has 4,000 beds currently occupied by railway staff and their families. Since March last year, as many as 1,952 railway employees have died due to Covid-19 as of yesterday, he said. Indian Railways had augmented the number of beds and built oxygen plants in rail hospitals, he added.
According to the All Indian Station Masters’ Association (AISMA), 113 station masters have died in the pandemic so far, most of them in the second wave this year. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has lost 50 men so far. The association, in letters to the Railway Board and several railway divisions, has demanded things such as special insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh for each of them, as well as immediate vaccination of their cadre.
The truncated staff have to work overtime because of many station masters falling sick, since railway stations cannot be left without station masters.