Families of those who die in railway accidents in Mumbai will be entitled to a compensation of Rs 8 lakhs instead of the earlier Rs 4 lakhs, according to a railways notification issued in December last year. As per the notification, compensation for passengers having serious injuries, like loss of limbs or facial disfigurement, has been increased to Rs 6 lakhs from up to Rs 3 lakhs.
On an average, 10 people die after falling off trains or other railway-related accidents in the city daily. The decision to increase the compensation was taken after around 140 passengers died in the Indore-Patna Express derailment last year. The increased amount has been dispensed to the families of the victims from January. BJP MP Kirit Somaiya who visited the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSTM) on Wednesday, along with members of the parliamentary standing committee, told The Indian Express: “We had been demanding the same from the government since long. A recent audit conducted by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) also highlights the fact that a lot of time is being taken to clear pending tribunal cases of these claims. We will discuss the issue with the authorities of both the Central and Western Railways.”
Speaking about the increase in compensation amount, a senior railway official said: “The change has been implemented from January this year.” Somaiya said Mumbai records the largest backlog of pending cases of railway-related deaths and accidents. “At present, the tribunal is only hearing a case that happened in 2011. All other cities in the country report a maximum backlog of cases that happened in the past three-four months. Mumbai and Lucknow remain far behind in clearing cases as old as six and three years, respectively,” he said.
He said a recommendation to add another branch of Motor Tribunals has been put forward to the government to clear the backlog. “To ensure minimal rail-related incidences, we aim to increase the height of at least 350 suburban platforms to 900 millimeters and build protection walls along tracks near all stations before December 31, 2017,” Somaiya said.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Ganesh Sing, head of the parliamentary standing committee, said: “At CSTM, we supervised the control room, ticket booking office and spoke to commuters of local trains. We will try to convey their grievances, including overcrowding in trains to railway officials in a meeting on Thursday.”