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Binoy Viswam Wrote a Letter to Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw,Minister for Railways,Government of India

I write to you about the regrettable ways in which railway safety is being compromised

despite repeated warnings on how this neglect can gravely impact the people of the country.

When the wounds of the Balasore train crash are yet to heal, the derailment of North East Express

today in Buxar District of Bihar came as another grim reminder of where the priorities of the

government are going wrong. Luxury trains are being introduced in a frenzy while the

infrastructure for the trains of the common people is being sorely forsaken.

Today’s tragedy has already claimed 6 lives and more than 100 are injured. The monetary

cost of the derailment is estimated to be above 50 crores. Fatalities from train related accidents

are over 23000 per year between 2010-2021 according to NCRB data. For 2021 alone, 88 collisions

and 21 derailments were reported. Despite these alarming numbers, the government engaged in

photo-ops and PR management instead of taking concrete measures. The Rashtriya Rail

Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) which was created with the aim of to clear the backlog of critical safety

and related works of the ministry, including track renewals, strengthening of bridges, and

signalling improvements among others remains critically unutilised. It is flagged by many

including the CAG that RRSK’s execution is lagging behind short deployment of funds has

defeated the objectives of improving railway safety. It is common knowledge that critical jobs

related to railway safety are being handled by outsourced or contractual workers reflecting poorly

on the seriousness of the government about the safety of citizens.

In this context, I urge you to realign the priorities of the railways towards the common

people. I also request you to sanction generous compensation to the kin of the victims of the Buxar

accident and to the injured. Those responsible for this tragedy should be brought to book and this

should serve as a delayed reminder that these mishaps should be prevented at any cost in future.

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