Two incidents of derailments in less than four days in Uttar Pradesh have induced a sense of fear among train passengers. “Everyone fears for his life. The government should take some corrective measures to ensure that we reach our destinations safely,” said Tarun Kumar, while waiting for the Patna-bound Sampoorna Kranti Express at the New Delhi railway station. The train was running late by nearly six hours yesterday. Several trains were either cancelled or diverted in the aftermath of the derailment of the Kaifiyat Express in Uttar Pradesh’s Auraiya district yesterday morning. At least 100 passengers were injured as 10 bogies of the train went off the rails after dashing against a dumper carrying construction material for railway work.
“Our fate lies in the hands of god when we are travelling by train,” said Kumar, who was on his way back from the cave shrine of Vaishno Devi in Jammu. However, some passengers felt it was pointless living under fear because of rail accidents. “We cannot do away with train journeys simply because of derailments. Haven’t you heard of plane crashes?” asked a middle-aged man waiting for a train for Mathura. The passenger believed the government was taking “stern action” against guilty officials. “The Utkal Express accident was not a deliberate act,” he said.
On August 19, in one of the deadliest train accidents in recent times, 22 people were killed and over 150 injured, 26 of them grievously, after 13 coaches of the train jumped the rails, with one of them crashing into a house adjacent to the tracks near Khatauli, Uttar Pradesh. Mohit Kumar, a second-year BA student from Ghaziabad, who was onboard the Bareilly-bound Rohtak Express, admitted that there was a sense of fear in the aftermath of the twin derailments. “It is good to think of bullet trains of international standards, but there should be more focus on ordinary trains,” he said, in a reference to an ambitious project of the government. There have been several derailments in Uttar Pradesh of late.
On November 20, 2016, over 100 passengers were killed and more than 200 injured when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed near Pukhrayan in Kanpur Dehat district. A little over a month later, on December 28, at least 62 passengers were injured when 15 coaches of the Sealdah-Ajmer Express derailed, while crossing a bridge near the Rura railway station in the same district. In the aftermath of the derailments, the railways got much-needed funds to upgrade safety measures with the budget this year proposing an outlay of Rs 1 lakh crore for the purpose.