DELHI: 26 June 2014
The Social Democratic Party of India, (SDPI), has expressed distress and sorrow at the loss of four lives following the derailment of Assam-bound Rajdhani Express in Bihar in the wee hours of Wednesday.
SDPI national president A. Sayeed in a statement said it seems that it is the negligence of the Indian Railways which caused the accident. The common practice of running a pilot engine 30 minutes ahead of Rajdhani Express trains was not apparently followed. This is done to check whether the line is clear and tracks are safe. It seems this was not done in this case and the accident occurred.
Sayeed pointed out that reportedly 17 mini-plates, which are used to fasten the rails, were found near the site. Eyewitnesses said some 200 metres of the track were missing pointing towards sabotage allegedly by the Maoists. Had a pilot engine been run then this lacunae would have come to the fore in advance and the ill-fated Rajdhani Express train could have been stopped in its tracks to avert the mishap. However, that was not to be.
He said that the tall claim of the Modi Government to make the Indian Railways world class as was stated when a steep hike in fares and freights were announced a few days back in the interim railway budget appears to be a stunt only as safety of passengers lies in tatters.
The statement stated that the accident-prone Indian rail network, one of the world’s largest, is still the main form of long-distance travel in the country. As such there should be work on safety first; train accidents are not acceptable anymore. There should be 14.2 per cent improvement in the quality of railway services, then only the fare hike could be justified somewhat. No point just hiking fare to cover railway losses due to poor management, the statement added.