The worst train tragedy near Kanpur with the derailment of 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express around 3:10 AM in the night killed 116 passengers and more than 200 injured, raising the need to review railway track safety all over the country.
Inspector General of Kanpur, Zaki Ahmad, said, “Over 150 injured people have been rushed to nearby hospitals in the area… All hospitals have been asked to be alert and more than 30 ambulances have been pressed into service.”
The Prime Minister has announced ex gratia of Rs. 2 lakhs for the next of kin of those killed, and Rs. 50,000 for those seriously injured, in the rail accident in Uttar Pradesh, from PMNRF besides the assistance announced by the Railways.
Every week at least one train accident is either getting it to headlines or sidebars making the lives miserable in the country’s vast railway network, which is the main mode of passenger transportation in the country. Last time in May, 2010, 148 people were killed after the Gyaneshwari Express was derailed allegedly by Naxals in West Midnapore district of West Bengal.
This brings to forth the inevitable question of India far behind in terms of technology upgradation of its vast railway network despite huge pool of skilled people. In foreign countries, already technology is making headway preventing such accidents.
The railways in the Western countries are using electrical circuits preceding the trains on tracks, thus detecting sabotage or alignment problems well in advance preventing such mishaps. As the Railways’ budget is going to be part of the national budget from the next financial year, the focus should be on railway line safety.