Only a few days ago, the Kalinga Utkal Express derailed at Khatauli killed over 23 people and injured over 80. The incident’s intensity and lack of respect towards human life and property surprised everyone.
We pitied, sympathised over the victims’ pain and shared our condolences for the huge loss. But the loss occurred in the wee hours of the day and the fact is that we can’t bring back the smiles of the victims and survivors as an ordinary night, turned into a nightmare for some.
Although the government has compensated the victims’ family with ₹3.5 lakh for the family of those killed, ₹50,000 for those seriously injured and ₹25,000 for people with minor injuries. But is money enough to soothe their pain? Furthermore, only a handful of the people have been registered and the overall number of those killed and injured is yet to be analysed.
Moreover, the irony of our society is in the age of reasoning. Highly intellectual sections of the society try to give vague explanations for a simple question-Who was responsible for the mishap? The blame game seems to be never-ending.
The Utkal tragedy isn’t the only derailment, these incidents are not new to India. Various deadly incidents have taken place in the last decade and still, these common issues have no solution. They seem to be entangled in the cobweb of bureaucracy and elaborated explanations of political parties.
The Numbers Show Us How Deadly The Indian Railway System Is
2007: Two bombs exploded around midnight on the Ssamjhauta express from India to Pakistan, twice-weekly train service connecting Delhi, India, and Lahore, Pakistan, killing at least 68 passengers and injuring 12.
2008: Two coaches of the Gautami Express were gutted in a massive fire in Warangal district in the wee hours of August 1, 2008. The train was travelling from Secunderabad to Kakinada. The fire allegedly caused by an electrical short-circuit and killed at least 32 passengers, injuring 40.
2009: 14 coaches of the Coromandel Express derailed in Orissa, 120km north of Bhubaneswar killing at least 16 people and leaving 161 injured.
2010: The Gyaneshwari Express train derailed in May 2010 where 148 people died.
2011: Kalka Mail derailed near Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh, killing 60 people and injuring more than 150.
2012: A coach of the New Delhi-Chennai Tamil Nadu Express caught fire near Nellore in Andhra Pradesh on June 30,2012. 35 passengers were burnt to death and at least 25 injured.
2013: A fire broke out on the Bangalore-Nanded Express train in Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh in an AC 3-tier coach. 54 passengers were expected to be on board in the B1 coach which was completely gutted in the fire. 26 people were killed.
2014: The Diva Junction-Sawantwadi passenger train derailed between Nagothane and Roha stations in Maharashtra’s Raigad district on May 4, 2014. At least 20 people were killed and about 100 injured
2015: The Dehradun-Varanasi Janata Express derailed near Bachhrawan in Uttar Pradesh killing 38 and injuring 150
2016: 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express train derailed in Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh As many as 142 people were killed and more than 200 injured
2017: Seven coaches and the engine of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express derailed in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh. killing 32
I have mentioned only ‘major’ incidents here. There have been more than four fatal train accidents taking place every year either because of carelessness or adoption of shortcuts and non-observance of safety and guidelines.
The latest one which has been added to the long list of derailments is the Kaifiyat express which left more than 70 people injured in the accident, resulting in an independent decision of the railway minister Suresh Prabhu’s resignation from his post.
But will this resignation repair the loss which has been made? Who should be held responsible for such an incident? More importantly, bounded by government’s laws and regulations, as a common citizen we can do nothing but share our grief while we still count the rising numbers of the dead. May be we are waiting some more deadly to happen!