4 Train Derailments In The Past 9 Days: Is This The New Normal?
September 28th, 2017
- 16 coaches of a goods train derailed near Nergundi station in Cuttack, Odisha early Wednesday morning, September 27.
- Two trains derailed at the same spot in Uttar Pradesh, only a day apart. The engine of a goods train derailed near Sitapur on 19 September morning, and the Burhwal-Balamau passenger train engine also derailed at the same spot the previous day.
- Two coaches of an empty Agra-Gwalior passenger train derailed at the Agra Cantonment railway station in the early hours of September 23.
These were the four reported derailments that occurred in the past nine days. That is a frequency of almost one derailment every two days.
Derailments have increased steadily in the past few months. In August-September alone, the frequency of derailments was one derailment every three days. Given the increasing rate, one is forced to wonder: Is this the new normal?
The recent incidents of train derailments have caused great concern in the country. The rising frequency of the…
Train derailments in 2016-17 have led to the highest number of deaths in a decade. Over the past 10 years, there have been as many as 1,394 train accidents. Of these, 51% were due to derailments. During the tenure of the current NDA government, there have been at least 346 derailments.
The number of train accidents due to derailments has increased in the last five years even as total number of accidents has declined (source). As per a NITI Aayog discussion note (by Bibek Debroy, who presently heads the PMEAC), government data shows that the number of derailments has increased every year since 2012. Furthermore, more people died in derailment accidents in 2016-17 than the total between 2012-13 and 2015-16.
At the same time, the total number of consequential rail accidents was the lowest in 2016-17 even though the number of injured persons by railway accidents increased in the past year after falling from a high point in 2014-2015.
Analysis of the above data throws the following crucial insights:
- Derailments accounted for over 50% of the total consequential accidents.
- 51% of the total casualties over the above period were on Level Crossing-related accidents, while about 35% of casualties on derailments. Together, Derailments and LC related accidents accounted for about 85% casualties;
- Similarly, derailments and LC related accidents together accounted for about 82% injured persons.
Why are India’s trains going off tracks?
The main reason for the increasing number of accidents is the huge gap between government’s promises and the ground reality. At the root of the problems is the financial crunch faced by Indian Railways with insufficient investments in the safety of passengers. (Analysis)
2016-17 was the year with the maximum number of deaths due to train accidents.
But the Railway authorities have hardly learnt from past mistakes.
The underlying questions remain – what are the safety measures taken for the passengers after repeated mishaps of train derailment? What is really ailing the Indian railways?
Most accidents are met with oft-repeated reactions like “Strict action shall be taken against the guilty,” and so on. Days pass, inquiry commissions submit reports to assess which accident has had the most damaging effect, unless another case of derailment again makes it to the headlines.
Who is to be blamed? The government? The railway ministry? Or the poor state of infrastructure? The Indian Railways are treated as a GDP-churning-asset, capable of transporting people and freight. Hardly any attention is paid to the aspect of safety of the passengers travelling by the railways. Where does the factor of accountability lie?
The Indian Railway has lost its focus on operations. It runs as an organisation systematically managed by successive governments THAT lack the understanding of the organisation’s potential.
The Logical Indian community urges the government to look into the matter of railway safety on a priority basis and make sure that such fatal mishaps are avoided.
Three derailments within a span of 12 hours. Know why are our trains going off track #In2Minutes.
Posted by The Logical Indian on Friday, September 8, 2017
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