Context: The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) records shows that roughly 2.6 lakh people have lost their lives in train accidents in the past 10 years.
The NCRB is an Indian government agency responsible for collecting and analysing crime data in India.
|Classification of Rail Deaths
- The NCRB classifies railway accident deaths in five categories:
- People falling from trains or trains colliding with people on tracks.
- Other causes.
|Death of People in Railway Accidents
- Rising number of deaths in India due to railway accidents:
- 2011: 25,872 people
- 2012 & 2013: 27,000 people in 2012 and 27,765 in 2013
- 2014: 25,000 people
- Decline in number of deaths due to railway accidents:
- 2017: 24,000 deaths
- 2019: 24,619 deaths
- 2020 (COVID): 11,968 deaths
- Again, rise in number of deaths in India due to railway accidents:
- 2021: 16,431 deaths.
|Causes of Death
- The data also shows that a vast majority of the deaths were caused by people either falling off trains or being run over by them.
- According to data from the past five years of 1 lakh railway accident deaths reported between 2017-21, over 71,000 people died either by falling off trains or being run over.
- Moreover, only 293 died in derailments and 446 people in collisions.
- Nobody died in fires or explosions in 2021.
| States Reporting Major Rail Accident Deaths
- Following States reported highest numbers in railway accident deaths from 2017-2021:
- Maharashtra (highest) has reported 17,000 such casualties.
- Maharashtra is followed by Uttar Pradesh (13,074) and West Bengal (11,967).
- Odisha’s numbers over the same period are among the lowest, at just 1,845 deaths.
|Problem with Data
- The recent collision in Odisha involving three trains has claimed 288 lives & left 900 wounded.
- However, the NCRB data shows most railway accident deaths are caused by people falling off trains or being run over by them.
- While safety for railway passengers is of utmost importance, the primary reason for deaths seems to be individual lapses in safety measures.
- The actual reason behind such deaths is India’s extensive rail network that suffers from aging infrastructure and poor maintenance.