India: Sharp rise in accident rate in railways : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

India: Sharp rise in accident rate in railways

By Sandeep Dikshit

NEW DELHI, SEPT. 28. With the Railway Minister, Ms. Mamata Banerjee, tending to spend more time in West Bengal battling the Communists, the safety record of the Indian Railways has taken a beating.

The latest accident statistics shows that the accident rate has increased sharply during Ms. Mamata Banerjee's tenure and is now threatening to touch the level witnessed during the dark days of 1995- 96.

In fact, the railways could be headed for their worst accident figures in recent years if the trend of the last three months remained unchecked. The only saving grace, is that the number of collisions between passenger trains has decreased. As a result, there has been no accretion in the number of lives lost because collisions result in a heavy casualty rate.

Railway officials are taking steps to bring down the accident rate. One such measure is to impose deterrent punishment on delinquent staff. It was observed that punishment in accident cases was not severe enough. The Railway Board is understood to have instructed its field units to periodically review all punishments imposed in accident-related cases as per laid down norms.

First, the figures of last year. The number of consequential accidents during 1999-2000 went up to 463 as against 397 accidents in the previous year, an increase of 16 per cent. While there was a fall in the number of collisions, incidents of derailments, fire in running trains and accidents at level crossing increased.

The increase of 16 per cent appears modest when compared to the spurt during the first three months of the current fiscal. Between April and August this year, as many as 204 accidents occurred compared to 160 during the same period last year - an increase of a whopping 25 per cent.

The last three months were harrowing for passengers because accidents involving passenger trains nearly doubled. Derailments went up by nearly 33 per cent.

-- Carl Jenkins (, September 28, 2000


Quite a find, Carl. Too bad the reporter didn't dig more to try to learn why the increase has occurred. The beginning of the article seems to implicate employees but doesn't even delve into the way(s) in which they are responsible.

-- Rachel Gibson (, September 28, 2000.

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