Safe Rail Travel

India has the world’s fourth largest railway network that ferries more than 23 million passengers every day, but infrastructure is poorly maintained and accidents are common. In 2012, a government report said almost 15,000 people were killed every year on the railways, describing the deaths as an annual “massacre” due mainly to poor safety standards. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 25,006 people died and 3,882 were injured in railway accidents across the country in 2014. While most of these fatalities were caused by fall from trains or collision of trains with people on track, as many as 190 deaths were attributed to collision between trains, derailments and fire accidents.

Maharashtra reported the maximum or 7,969 such cases in which 5,024 people were killed and 3,208 were injured. In cities, the maximum number of deathswas reported in Delhi (856), followed by Bhopal (132), Allahabad (92) and Jabalpur (76). The maximum number of railway accidents happened in June or 9.4% of the total. And most of these accidents or 17.5% of total were reported between 6amand 9am. Railway crossing accidents NCRB says a total of 2,547 railway crossing accidents led to 2,575 deaths and 126 injuries across the country in 2014. The railways crossing accidentshave increased by 83.5% when compared to 2013. Telangana had an unusually large number of railway crossing accidents with 1,061 or 41.65% incidents being reported from the state.

Recent spate of derailments in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra have caused much concern to the common people who look for affordable and safe rail travel. Various committees and groups have suggested number of steps to be taken . From a common man’s perspective the urgent and important steps to be taken are enumerated below.

  1. Form an independent safety regulatory authority to monitor and regulate safety measures.
  2. Invest substantially in strengthening the tracks, signal, instrumentation, anti- collision measures and rolling stock.
  3. Digitise to detect deficiency in tracks, wagons and locomotives.
  4. Driver alert devices to be installed.
  5. Unmanned level crossings should be converted into manual or digitally controlled gates with sensors.
  6. Periodical inspection and validation of rails wagons controls and instruments as stipulated by safety authority.
  7. Mobile based Feed back from passengers . Hopefully Indian Railway acts to meet the aspiration of common man.


More by :  N S Ramachandran

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