Railway accidents and incompetence

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This is going to be short.

See this page. It is about railway accidents in India. It records accidents from the 1980s to now. No need even for details. Just scroll down the page, and get an idea of the size of each year’s entries. 2010 and 2011 are massive lists.

Cut to present tense. Or rather yesterday morning. A ten year old picking plastic bottles discarded by train passengers spotted a fracture in the tracks with minutes to spare for the arrival of the Rajdhani Express. He ran ahead and alerted the signalman and on his instructions, waved a red flag to indicate an emergency to the train as it came in. He showed the fracture to the driver, the signal man got the whoevers who handle maintenance and the track was immediately closed for repairs.

To this, the response of SK Sharma, chief public relations officer (CPRO), Northern railways was, “Track fractures happen in winters due to change in temperature. Since all the tracks are circuited, there is no question that we won’t get to know about it. Whenever there is a track fracture, there would not be any signal and without that drivers can not drive the trains.”

It isn’t rocket science to see that the fracture was clearly serious enough to shut the track for immediate repairs. It also isn’t rocket science to know that whatever system this guy is talking about clearly didn’t function, since it was a ten year old boy flagging an oncoming train to an emergency halt.

By now, you don’t need me to tell you why there are so many accidents recently as compared with earlier years. People aren’t doing their jobs, and then not even appreciating those who do those jobs for them, let alone learning from either accidents or narrowly missed accidents.

India is paying for this man’s salary, and it is paying in lives, compensations, property damage, emotional trauma, inconvenience and many more ways too.

Do the math.

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