On 11th August 2017, two BJP MPs from the Rajya Sabha asked the government about the number of train accidents and people killed in these accidents. The government stated two different casualty figures in response to these questions.
The unfortunate derailment of Utkal express in Muzzaffarnagar (Uttar Pradesh) has claimed more than 20 lives and left scores of others injured. But, how many people are killed in train accidents each year? Going by the answers given in Rajya Sabha, it seems that the Ministry of Railways does not really know how many people are killed every year in train accidents.
Question No 3007 in Rajya Sabha on 11th August 2017
On 11th August 2017, a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, belonging to the BJP asked a question to the Railway Minister wanting to know the number of train accidents in the last two years and the loss of lives in such accidents. In response, the Minister of State for Railways answered that 122 persons were killed in train accidents in 2015-16 and 238 persons were killed in 2016-17.
Question No 3023 in Rajya Sabha on 11th August 2017
On the same day, a BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan asked a similar question i.e., the number of train accidents in the last two years and the number of people killed. In response, the Minister of State for Railways answered that 97 people were killed in 2015-16 and 181 people were killed in 2016-17. It has to be noted that in both the answers, the number of accidents was same i.e., 107 accidents in 2015-16 and 104 accidents in 2016-17.
Two different answers on the same day
It is ironic that on the same day, the Minister of State for Railways stated two different casualty figures for 2015-16 and 2016-17. Out of the two figures, the one stated in response to question no 3007 looks like the accurate one. In response to another question in the Lok Sabha in April 2017, the Minister of State for Railways stated that 122 people were killed in 2015-16 because of train accidents. He also stated 235 people were killed in 2016-17 as per provisional figures. The conflicting answers given to Members of Parliament reflects poorly on the Railways.
The year book only talks about passengers killed
The Ministry of Railways publishes a year book with all the statistics. But the year book contains only the details of passengers killed in train accidents, but not the total number killed in train accidents. As per the year book of 2015-16, 40 passengers lost their lives in train accidents in 2015-16.
Need for real-time data sharing
The Railways collects all its data zone-wise. The statistical statement of 2015-16 also shows zone-wise casualty figure as 122 which is same as in the answer given to Question No 3007. But these statistical statements are released with a delay of almost one year. For instance, the statistical statement for 2016-17 is not yet available. Hence there is a great need for the Railways to share all important data in real-time.
Featured Image: Shreekanth M | Flickr