Raillway minister Suresh Prabhu in the Rail Budget on Thursday expressed his intention to bring in a “zero-accident” regime in the near future by infusing technology and eliminating all unmanned level crossings from the rail network.
“A single accident or loss of a single life causes me great sorrow and anguish. It also demonstrates that we still have a long way to go in realising our objective of a zero accident regime,” he said in his Budget speech. As far as accidents go, the NDA era has an unenviable record.
Right from the start in May 2014, the Railways under this government has seen a slew of derailments, collisions, accidents in level crossings that resulted in the death of school children and the like.
There have been 233 accidents since 2014-15 till date on the rail network, almost similar to the corresponding period in the two years preceding that. Around 410 people have lost their lives in these accidents since 2014-15.
The figure for the preceding two years before that stands at 356.
What is more interesting is that when one gets into the causes for the accidents, the NDA regime saw the percentage of accidents caused due to failure of railway staff shoot up to 48.98 per cent this year, up from 44.44 in 2014-15.
This is a high since 2005-06. The plans in the pipeline aim to eliminate all unmanned level crossings on the broad gauge network in 3-4 years for which innovative financing mechanism are being worked out to curb train accidents.
The action plan also includes installation of Train Collision Avoidance System, getting Japan and Korean railways to partner with India to help in improving safety record and working out a technological solution to people falling off trains especially in suburban sections.