Nine coaches and the engine of Nagpur-bound Duronto Express 12290 derailed on Tuesday, August 29, between Asangaon and Vasind railway stations, Maharashtra. The Railway officials said that there are no reported casualties or injuries yet and a rescue team is on site.
— ANI (@ANI) August 29, 2017
Helpline numbers have also been shared by the ministry.
— NDTV (@ndtv) August 29, 2017
The Railways said that the reason for the derailment is a landslide.
Prima facie reason for Nagpur Mumbai Duronto Express derailment seems to be massive landslide: Central Railway Sources
— ANI (@ANI) August 29, 2017
NDTV reports that a portion of the tracks was breached due to landslide after heavy rains in the Kasara Ghats section in the last three days.
“It is suspected that a portion of the tracks was washed away due to heavy rains in the Kasara Ghats section since there has been long spell of incessant and torrential rains since the past few days,” an official told PTI.
This is the third derailment in a span of 10 days. On August 19, at least 23 people were killed and around 400 injured after 14 coaches of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express derailed at Khatauli, near Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh; on August 23, 74 people were injured after 8 coaches of the Kaifiyat Express derailed and one overturned in Auraiya in Uttar Pradesh.
After both these accidents, the Chairman of the Railway Board A K Mittal resigned and Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani was appointed as the new chairman.
Interestingly, the Railway Ministry had also claimed that train accidents have declined in the last three year. However, its own data shows that this, in fact, is untrue.
The Logical Indian take
As of now, the reason given for the Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express derailment is a natural disaster. Even then, the government needs to be blamed for its lackadaisical approach to the safety of the passengers as Maharashtra has been witnessing heavy rains the last few days and landslides are common in such conditions. The Railway Ministry failed to take preventive measures and take accountability for its incompetence.
In the first five months of this year, a total of 29 serious train accidents has occurred, out of which 20 accidents happened due to the derailment. Last year, 78 derailments took place on railway tracks two of which were attributed to ‘coach defect.’ In the last five years, between 2012-13 and 2016-17, 308 accidents occurred due to derailment, out of the total 586. Out of total 1,011 casualties, 347 were killed due to train derailments and 449 because of unmanned level crossings.
2016-17 was the year with the maximum number of deaths due to train accidents.
Only in November last year, 14 coaches of the Patna-bound Indore-Rajendranagar Express train derailed between Pokhrayan and Malasa stations in Uttar Pradesh, killing 152 passengers and injuring 183.
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. 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 who lack the understanding of the organisation’s potential.
The Logical Indian community urges the government to look into the matter on a priority basis and make sure that such fatal mishaps are avoided.