Sunday, 22 January 2017

Train to death

At least 27 people were killed and 36 injured after nine coaches of the Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express on its way to Bhubaneswar derailed, Saturday night, 21st Jan 2016. The death toll in the incident is expected to rise. The authorities are investigating the cause of the derailment. It is the third train accident in past two months. And this is not counting the large number of deaths happening on railway tracks every day and a variety of minor, major or serious train accidents happening regularly where a lot of people are injured but no casualties occur.

Every time there is such an accident, the PM tweets his sadness, the Railway minister his helplessness and the Home minister does a "Kadhi Ninda". We too give our instantaneous reaction of rage or sadness, as befitting our mood and then forget about the whole thing until the next accident happens. The discussion space on railways is more taken over by whether we should have Bullet trains, Metro rails, fare-hikes and other such issues. Probably these are more important than the sundry numbers of people killed by accidents. Just like the deaths that occurred in the wake of Demonetization program. And what the heck, the government pays money ( or at least announces) as compensation for such deaths so nobody should say blame the government. Argument sealed.

And now, another interesting spin is immediately adduced to make every train accident look like the part of a great global conspiracy. The bogey of "foul play" is raised with unfailing regularity and the blame is shifted to terrorists, militants, and Naxalites. They are very common punching bags. And when everything fails, we have the ISI to blame. They are on the highest pedestal of Indian Standards in blaming.

The problem now is that if you point out or even try to understand the technical, mechanical, human or organizational fault behind these accidents, the matter immediately politicized. A group of people immediately paints you as a supporter of the Congress or the other parties except those in the ruling coalition. Then the obnoxious question of - "What were you doing when such things happened between 1947-2014 - is placed as a counter logic. Then lastly the person with such a query is branded as a liberal, secular and socialist, presently an anathema with the ruling dispensation and its brainless supporter.

This present government is very efficient and dynamic, in shirking responsibilities for its actions, inaction, and propaganda. But they will have to answer for their heartless and careless attitude to the common people. That they have squandered a golden chance of good governance is entirely their fault, not the opposition or critics. And they will have to pay for this, dearly.

Just to jog the mind back and recap the fatal rail accidents, only recently on 6th December 2016, two coaches and the engine of Guwahati-bound Capital Express from Bihar derailed in North Bengal. At least two people died in the accident, while 10 were injured. The incident took place shortly after 9 pm nearShamuktala Road station.

Around 146people were killed and 179 injured when the Patna-Indore Express derailed nearPukhrayan station, about 60 km from Kanpur city on 20th November. The accident was one of most deadly train accidents in 2016, and overall India's second deadliest.

September30, 2016: Two GRP employees died, while 27 other were people were injured when Bhubaneswar-Bhadrak passenger train and goods train near Kathojodi station atCuttack collided with each other. The officials said that two coaches of the train were derailed after the trains collided. The investigation revealed that the trains were running on the same track.

On July 26, 2016, a passenger train hit a school van in eastern UP. Eight children, not older than the age of 10 years old, were killed in the accident. The police revealed that the train hit the school van so hard that it flew up in the air and landed in a nearby field.
This post is not to blame the government because after all, accidents do happen and nobody can predict when and how they happen. But the apathy, blame game and responsibility shirking is what enrages me, more than the aggrieved feeling. These are sheer stupidity.

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