ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Mocking Passenger Safety

The response of the Railways to passenger deaths is another committee.

When a 21-year-old commuter lost his grip on the pole at the train door and fell in Mumbai a few days ago, his tragic fate was no different from that of so many others. But it was the video clip of the fall that went viral on the i­nternet that shook even those who are used to regularly reading reports of such falls. It brought home forcefully the reality of the horrifying numbers of deaths due to falls from overcrowded trains, crashes at unmanned level crossings and people crossing rail tracks where foot overbridges are either non-existent, too crowded or at an inconvenient distance from the roads that lead to the station. Mumbai, with its extensive suburban railway network that every day runs 2,905 services carrying 7.5 million commuters, reports the highest number of deaths due to people falling out of trains.

The response from Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu was predictable; he ordered the formation of a committee. Yet, in 2012 a high-level committee chaired by Anil Kakodkar gave a detailed report on rail safety along with suggestions to the Railways. Prabhu had asked the Railway Board in June this year to submit an implementation plan of the recommendations of the K­akodkar report. What happened to that?

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