Shocking Revelation: Indian Railway tracks Most Unsafe for the general public in India

Precious human resource from Rural packets of the country is the most sufferer.  Loss of Lives remains high in Rural India

New Delhi:  Following the mishap at the Dhamara Ghat station in Bihar’s Khagaria district earlier this month, in which 28 pilgrims were mowed down by the Patna-bound ‘Rajya Rani’ Express, the attention has now shifted yet again to the appalling lack of rail safety measures.

According to the Railways’ data, as many as 39 people are killed every day while crossing the tracks. And in the January 2009-June 2012 period,  a total of 50,298 lives were lost in this manner, which works out to around 14,370 deaths per year.  Just as shocking as the number of lives thus lost is the public sector giant’s nomenclature for crossing the tracks, which are termed ‘trespassing’.

The Rail Ministry data revealed that  14,376 people were killed in 2009; 12,894 in 2010; 14,611 in 2011 and 8,412 until June 2012. And the maximum number of deaths due to ‘tresspassing’ took place near the  level crossings. There are 31,254 such crossings across the country, out of which only 12,582 are manned.

At the current pace it may take another 5-10 years before all the unmanned level crossings can be converted into manned ones.

Among the states, Maharashtra has recorded the maximum number of deaths (1356) due to trespassing followed by West Bengal(1049) in 2012. In Tamil Nadu and UP, the casualty figures due to trespassing were 996 and 819 respectively in 2012. The number of deaths in Bihar during this period was 228.

The unusually high number of ‘tresspassing’ deaths showed that the railway tracks continued to remain unsafe for the public. In the absence of footbridges or proper management by the rail authorities, the people are often forced to cross the tracks. Last year, several youngsters lost their lives here as they crossed the tracks with their earphones plugged in. Since they could not hear the noise of the approaching train, they were run over.

Compared to the other countries, the fatality figures are unusually high in India.  The number of deaths on railway tracks has been on the lower side in the developed countries, with just 852 and 750 such deaths reported for the whole of Europe in 2009 and 2010 respectively.