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Kalindi Express derailment: Is the government swift enough to rectify security lapses?

The express train rammed the freight train from the back and its locomotive ripped apart a couple of bogies, which shows the severity of the accident.

Written by Kanishka Singh | New Delhi |
February 20, 2017 12:10:01 pm
tundla junction, kalindi express derails, train derailment, delhi howrah train derail, rail route delhi howrah, tundla junction accident, train accident tundla junction Kalindi Express derailed at Tundla Junction. ANI photo

Delhi-bound Kalindi Express’ derailment at Tundla junction on the intervening night of Sunday and Monday adds to a long list of train accidents over the last six months. Another human error brought two trains–one express and a freight train–on the same track. The express train rammed the freight train from the back and its locomotive ripped apart a couple of bogies, which shows the severity of the accident.

After the impact, three coaches of the train and the locomotive engine derailed. The irony is that the Agra-bound freight train had stopped to give way to the express trains and still the express found its way onto the same track.

Questions have repeatedly been asked of the Indian Railways and the lack of efficiency of its railway safety setup. The ministry, however, doesn’t seem to have acted with swift measures.

A government study on train safety incidents over the past 6-7 years shows that over 80 per cent of the accidents and derailments are caused due to human error. The study said over 40 per cent of the accidents are caused by errors of railways staff.

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Major train accidents in recent past: Sealdah-Ajmer Superfast Express derailed in Kanpur Dehat district in Uttar Pradesh on December 28, 2016. On December 6, two coaches and the engine of Guwahati-bound Capital Express derailed in north Bengal. The incidents killed two and injured 10. On November 20, 2016, the country witnessed one of the worst train accidents in recent years as 14 coaches of the Patna-Indore Express derailed in Kanpur Dehat district. The tragic incident claimed over 140 lives and another 180 were left injured.

On October 5, Jammu Tawi-Pune Jhelum Express derailed. A week before on September 31, Bhubaneswar Bhadrak passenger train and a goods train collided near Kathojodi station at Cuttack, Odisha. Two GRP employees were killed as a result and 27 were injured in the collision. According to the officials, the two trains were running on the same track and collided with each other causing derailment of two coaches.

Also, from February 5 to September 20 there were seven major train accidents which included collisions and derailments.

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For the last few months, the Railways ministry has been arguing its resolve to reduce accidents. It even asked for a special corpus for reducing errors in the railways safety infrastructure. However, it seems the pace of movement is not adequate and it is risking lives each day. Digitising administrative processes is all good and makes the job of officials easier. But, the ministry should also make sure that there is no lackadaisical attitude in railways staff otherwise outrageous incidents like two trains coming on same track won’t come across as shockers anymore.

With each accident, the trust of passengers in the railways is severely hit. If the ministry plans to turn it into a service that would rival air travel then it needs to make sure that safety is its prime priority because it is for passengers. No one likes to bet on their lives in this manner and Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu must acknowledge that there are widespread lapses in his railways safety setup that need urgent attention.

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First published on: 20-02-2017 at 12:10:01 pm
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