Yet another railway accident! More than 250 accidents per year- can you believe that? Although hard to digest, yet that is the true face of Indian Railways, one of the leading and largest railway networks in the whole world. The most alarming problem chivvying the Indian Railways is the high rate of accidents taking place through either collisions or derailments.
Even if we overlook the other issues of the Railways in India, which includes the dirty outdated railway stations, over crowded trains, yet train accidents where thousands of people give there life every year just for nothing, cannot be anyway justified. More than 8 train accidents took place this year (2010) out of which the most recent is the accident that happened yesterday i.e. on 28th May, 2010, morning. The accident of a Mumbai bound train, “Howrah-Kurla Gyaneshwari Super Deluxe Express” took a toll of over 20 lives and more than 100 people were injured.
As quite a number of train accidents are caused by collisions or derailments, this case of accident is no exception. It is said by the officials that the accident took place near Jhargram, West Bengal, when the thirteen coaches and the engine of the train got derailed on the adjacent track following which it was hit by a goods train approaching from the opposite side.
The injured passengers screamed in fear and pain through out the night while trying to escape feverishly from the garbled coaches. The passengers madly looked out for their close ones, with the hope to get them back alive. The railway officials suspect this case of accident as sabotage on the part of the Maoist guerrillas. As per the officials the railway track were surely tinkered as they were found to be removed near Jhargram, about 155 kms from Kolkata. Chances of a blast are not totally wiped out by the officials.
The worst part of this case, as common to most other railway accidents, is the fact that it was yet another crisis called for the Indian Railways and according to the villagers the security staff of the train did not lend out any helping hands initially, to rescue the passengers. As different security agencies and the ‘Indian Air Force’ join hands for a rescue operation of the passengers trapped underneath the coaches, the injured persons have been taken to Kahragpur and other parts of West Midnapur for treatment. The president and the Prime Minister of India grieved over the death of so many people while Mamata Banerjee, the Railway Minister, announced a compensation of Rs. 5 lakhs for the families who lost their members in the accident.
But no matter what the reasons are for the accidents, no matter what steps are taken, how much amount of money being provided as compensation, they can never make up for the lost lives. Although 83% of the train accidents that take place in India are due to human error with some happening due to collision, derailment and other reasons, yet the major concern is the huge amount of lives that are lost in these accidents, irrespective of the causes. Although modernization and strengthening of the railway infrastructure is making progress, we need to be much more careful and responsible. After all it is our lives. Are ‘Accidents’ truly another name for Indian Railways? Let’s prove this wrong by taking up appropriate measure both by the Government and the common people and thereby realize a vision of casualty- free and accident-free Indian railway system.