Four railway accidents in less than 12 hours have been reported from UP and Odisha. While this is disheartening for the masses who use the railways as their primary mode of transportation it is time that the nation-state took its priorities seriously and reminded itself that before bringing in bullet trains our regular trains ought to guarantee safety.
It is indeed disheartening to hear that four train accidents in less than 12 hours in Uttar Pradesh and Odisha have killed seven people and injured at least 11. Three of these accidents have been reported from Uttar Pradesh and one from the state of Odisha.
There have also been two derailments, including one in Uttar Pradesh’s Chitrakoot district that has killed three people early today morning and one incident of an engine decoupling from the wagon and a train hitting a car at an unmanned crossing.
The onset of the accidents began around 7.19 pm yesterday when a local train hit a Bolero vehicle at an unmanned crossing near Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, killed four people and injured two others. The vehicle was stacked with people belonging to a marriage party and was tragically hit at Matha Bhusunda village under the Musafirkhana police station.
Then, at 4.18 am, 13 coaches of the Vasco Da Gama-Patna Express, on its way from Goa to Patna, derailed near Manikpur in Uttar Pradesh. This accident ended up killing three people, including a six-year old boy and his father, and injuring nine others.
Sources in the railways have reportedly said that the rail fracture was the likely cause of the derailment. However, they said that they could make an official statement only after a probe by the commissioner of Railway Safety was undertaken. Railway minister Piyush Goyal has ordered the probe by the Commissioner, Railway Safety.
The Uttar Pradesh government pressed Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) into service to probe the train accident, the ADG said. A compensation for those who are injured and the family of the deceased has been announced. The frequency of railway accidents in the country has indeed captured our attention and made us probe why a mode of transportation such as the railways which is used by the bulk of the population is also the one most neglected. From safety to cleanliness and food in trains everything seems to be of poor quality and has been neglected for over decades. One the one hand we have started work for bullet trains and on the other the ordinary trains are not functioning properly and causing enough misery to passengers.
For the ordinary masses who use the train as the ultimate mode of transportation will the nation-state continue to show the attitude of utter negligence or will the times to come initiate change?
While this will be reserved in the womb of the future what we must begin to differentiate between is the need and the greed of the nation. Until its basic infrastructure is not built the skyscraper of national progress cannot sustain itself for long. Are our authorities paying enough heed?