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Odisha train accident a black spot, however, data shows a great reduction in such accidents post 2014

Though the number of accidents was reducing, after the Modi government took charge, the situation started to change drastically

Since the Modi government came to power in 2014, a lot of work has been done to improve Indian Railways. From starting dedicated trains for tourism, introducing Vande Bharat Express, modernising Railway stations, and improving sanitary on stations and in trains, to developing technology and implementing projects to improve the safety of trains, the Modi government has managed to change the face of the Indian Railways.

Railway accidents were reduced substantially after the Modi government came to power

As per data available, in Financial Year 2006-07, there were a total of 195 train accidents in India. In FY 2007-08, there were 194 accidents followed by 177 in FY 2008-09, 165 in 2009-10, 139 in 2010-11, 131 in 2011-12, 120 in 2012-13, 117 in 2013-14, and 131 in 2014-15. Human Error has been the cause of over 80 percent of the accidents.

Data does not contain numbers from Konkan Railways. Source: Indian Railways.

Though the number of accidents was reducing, after the Modi government took charge, the situation started to change drastically. In FY 2015-16, 106 train accidents were reported. 103 accidents were reported in FY 2016-17, 72 in 2017-18, 59 in FY 2018-19, 54 in FY 2019-20, 21 in FY 2020-21 and 34 in FY 2021-22.

Data shows that the consequential train accidents including accidents at unmanned level crossings are down from 195 in 2006-07 to 55 in 2019-20, 22 in 2020-21, and till March 31, 2022. The accidents have come down despite the fact that Indian Railways has increased its traffic volume substantially over the past nine years.

Source: Indian Railways

The accident per million train kilometres is an important index of safety. It used to be 0.23 in 2006-07, it came down to 0.05 in 2019-20 and further to 0.03 in the year 2020-21.

Steps taken by the government to make travel via trains safer

The Indian Railway has developed Kavach which is made-in-India Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System. Kavach will not only aid Loco Pilot to avoid Signal Passing At Danger (SPAD) and overspeeding but will also help in operating trains during inclement weather conditions such as dense fog. In current times, fog causes serious delays and cancellation of trains due to the high risk of accidents. Kavach has the potential to solve the problem.

Indian Railways has introduced Automatic Fire and Smoke Detection system in the AC coaches. Furthermore, a fire detection and suppression system has been installed in power and pantry cars.

To improve fire safety in the coaches, IR installed fire retardant curtains, partition paneling, roof ceiling, flooring, seat, and berths along with cushioning material and seat covers, Windows and UIC Vestibules etc.

IR has also taken several measures to curb accidents at unmanned level crossings. It has introduced the interlocking of Level Crossing Gates. As on March 9, 2022, IR installed interlocking with Signals at 11,919 Level Crossing Gates. The railways have further decided to progressively eliminate level crossings to ensure the safety of road users and train passengers.

Data suggests that the government is working extensively in eliminating such crossings. In 2020-21, 961 manned level crossings were eliminated. In 2021-22, 686 such crossings were eliminated. Notably, all unmanned LCs on Broad Gauge have already been eliminated by January 31, 2019.

Based on the traffic congestion, IR is actively replacing level crossings with Road Over/Under Bridges/Subways in a phased manner. In 2018-19, 1,477 such crossings were eliminated followed by 1,315 in 2019-20, 1,113 in 2020-21 and 790 in 2021-22.

IR uses a lot of bridges across the country. To ensure the safety of the passengers, the bridges are being strengthened, rehabilitated and rebuilt as required. In 2020-21, work at 1,114 bridges was completed and in 2021-22 the number rose to 1,401.

IR is actively renewing tracks as well. In 2019-20 5,181 KM of tracks were renewed followed by 5,510 KM in 2020-21 and 3,966 KM in 2021-22.

To cover the expenses on these projects, the Government of India introduced Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) in 2017-18 with a budget of Rs 1 lakh crores for five years and an annual outlay of Rs 20,000 crores.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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