Railway Safety Week: Beware the short cuts

Mumbai:  An estimated 8 people die on the railway tracks in Mumbai every day.  To reduce this unnecessary loss of life, the Railways held a safety week campaign to spread awareness amongst children and adults. As part of the elaborate programme, some of the musicians from National Streets for the Performing Arts www.NSPA.in (an initiative that few of us helped start) performed at Borivali station on October 25. The musicians were fantastic and effortlessly weaved the message of safety into their music.

The problem that the Railways have is that commuters tend to zip across platforms by jumping over the railway tracks. The safer option of climbing the stairs to take the safer path is seen as more tedious. Pressed for time and always in a hurry, the commuters try to beat the oncoming trains. Many times they fail. Eight times a day actually in Mumbai city. Consider this: the estimated 2,000 deaths every year on the railway tracks in Mumbai is close to the estimated 3,000 people who are killed as a result of terrorist attacks every year. Fighting terrorism is, correctly, seen as a national agenda and thousands of crore rupees are spent on that. Fighting our own ignorance which leads to equivalent number of deaths does not attract that kind of funding.

The Western Railways, concerned about the safety of their passengers, is trying to do something about it.

Which is very different from the way the financial service industry tends to treat its customers.