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Strategic Approaches To Train Accidents : PM Modi's Railway Ministers Tenure vs. Ex-Railway Minister Lalu Yadav

Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, there has been a distinct focus on enhancing railway safety and modernizing infrastructure to prevent accidents. Modi’s government introduced new technologies such as the Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) aimed at improving operational efficiency and safety. Response to accidents under Modi has been characterized by swift rescue operations and […]

Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, there has been a distinct focus on enhancing railway safety and modernizing infrastructure to prevent accidents. Modi’s government introduced new technologies such as the Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) aimed at improving operational efficiency and safety. Response to accidents under Modi has been characterized by swift rescue operations and enhanced compensation measures, reflecting a proactive approach to crisis management. This shift in focus from financial reforms to safety improvements under Modi’s administration has contributed to a contrasting perception and management of railway accidents.

Here is the list of Railway Ministers of PM Modi’s tenure since 2014

 

Suresh Prabhu

10 November 2014 BJP Narendra Modi
 

D.V. Sadananda Gowda

26 May 2014 to 9 November 2014 BJP Narendra Modi
 

Suresh Prabhu

10 November 2014 BJP Narendra Modi
 

Piyush Goyal

4 September 2017 to 7 July 2021 BJP Narendra Modi
 

Ashwini Vaishnaw

July 2021 to present BJP Narendra Modi

 

Railway Accidents occurred under Railway Ministers of PM Modi’s leadership Since 2014

Since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister in 2014, several significant rail accidents have occurred in India, each accompanied by rescue operations and ex gratia payments to victims. Here are details of some notable incidents:

Kanchanjungha Express and Goods Train Collision (2024)

  • Date: June 17, 2024
  • Location: Near New Jalpaiguri, West Bengal

The Kanchanjungha Express was traveling from Silchar in Assam to Sealdah in Kolkata when it was hit from behind by a goods train near Rangapani station, close to New Jalpaiguri. Rescue Operation is under going.Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured, Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw increased the compensation to Rs 10 lakh for the deceased, Rs 2.5 lakh for grievous injuries, and Rs 50,000 for minor injuries.

Coromandel Express Train Accident (2023):

  • Date: June 2, 2023
  • Location: Balasore district, Odisha
  • Details: The Coromandel Express collided with a stationary goods train near the Bahanaga Bazar station in Balasore district. The collision caused a significant derailment of the Coromandel Express, leading to a major disaster. Several coaches were severely damaged, resulting in numerous casualties and injuries. The accident was one of the deadliest in recent years. Rescue operations were launched immediately by local authorities, railway officials, and disaster response teams, including the National Disaster Response Force

Kannur-Ernakulam Intercity Express Derailment (2022):

  • Date: October 8, 2022
  • Location: Alappuzha district, Kerala
  • Details: The Kannur-Ernakulam Intercity Express derailed near Alappuzha district in Kerala, leading to injuries among passengers. The derailment occurred due to heavy rainfall and suspected track failure. Prompt rescue operations were conducted by railway authorities and local emergency services to evacuate passengers and provide medical assistance. This incident highlighted the vulnerability of railway infrastructure during adverse weather conditions and underscored the ongoing challenges in maintaining track safety. Authorities initiated investigations to determine the cause of the derailment and implement measures to enhance railway safety across the country.

Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express Derailment (2021):

  • Date: March 25, 2021
  • Location: Udalguri district, Assam
  • Details: The Dibrugarh-bound Rajdhani Express derailed near Udalguri district in Assam, causing disruption and injuries to passengers. The incident occurred due to suspected track issues. Prompt rescue efforts were initiated by railway authorities and local emergency services to assist the affected passengers and restore railway services. This accident highlighted ongoing challenges in railway safety and infrastructure maintenance, prompting authorities to review safety protocols and ensure enhanced monitoring of track conditions to prevent future accidents.

Vizag Gas Leak and Shramik Special Train Accident (2020):

  • Date: May 7, 2020
  • Location: Vizag, Andhra Pradesh and Aurangabad, Maharashtra
  • Details: This year witnessed two major incidents involving railways. First, a tragic gas leak occurred near a chemical plant in Vizag, affecting nearby railway workers and residents. Second, in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, a Shramik Special train carrying migrant workers collided with a goods train, resulting in casualties. Both incidents prompted swift rescue operations and government responses to provide relief and support to the affected individuals and families. These incidents underscored the challenges in ensuring safety across India’s vast railway network, especially during crises and emergencies.

Vaishali Express Derailment (2019):

  • Date: February 3, 2019
  • Location: Near Hajipur, Bihar
  • Details: The Vaishali Express derailed near Hajipur, Bihar, causing significant disruption and damage. Several coaches of the train went off the tracks due to suspected rail fracture. Fortunately, there were no fatalities reported, but passengers sustained injuries. Rescue operations were promptly initiated, and affected passengers were provided medical assistance.

Amritsar train accident (2018)

  • Date: October 19, 2018
  • Location: Amritsar, Punjab
  • Details: A tragic incident occurred during Dussehra celebrations when a train ran over people gathered near railway tracks. The accident resulted in a high number of casualties. Immediate rescue efforts were launched, with local authorities and railway officials evacuating injured individuals to hospitals. Prime Minister Modi sanctioned ex gratia payments and visited the injured in hospitals.

Utkal Express derailment (2017):

  • Date: August 19, 2017
  • Location: Khatauli, Uttar Pradesh
  • Details: The Utkal Express derailed, resulting in over 20 deaths and numerous injuries. Rescue operations were promptly initiated, involving railway personnel, NDRF teams, and local authorities. The injured were rushed to nearby hospitals for treatment. Prime Minister Modi expressed condolences and announced ex gratia payments of ₹2 lakh to the families of deceased and ₹50,000 to the injure

Mumbai suburban train stampede (2017):

  • Date: September 29, 2017
  • Location: Elphinstone Road station (now Prabhadevi station), Mumbai, Maharashtra
  • Details: A stampede occurred on a footbridge connecting two local train stations during rush hour, resulting in multiple deaths and injuries. Prompt rescue efforts were undertaken by railway staff, local police, and medical teams. PM Modi announced ex gratia payments for the victims’ families and measures to enhance railway infrastructure and safety in Mumbai.

Kalinga Utkal Express derailment (2017):

  • Date: August 23, 2017
  • Location: Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh
  • Details: The Kalinga Utkal Express derailed, leading to casualties and injuries among passengers. Rescue operations involved rapid response from NDRF, railway authorities, and medical teams. PM Modi directed officials to provide necessary assistance to the affected and announced ex gratia payments.

Indore-Patna Express derailment (2016):

  • Date: November 20, 2016
  • Location: Pukhrayan, Uttar Pradesh
  • Details: The Indore-Patna Express derailed, causing one of the deadliest rail accidents in recent years with over 150 fatalities. Rescue operations were challenging due to the severity of the incident, involving massive efforts by NDRF, local administration, and railway personnel. PM Modi expressed grief and announced ex gratia payments for the families of deceased passengers.

These incidents underscored the challenges and safety concerns within India’s railway network, prompting the government under PM Modi to prioritize safety enhancements, infrastructure upgrades, and crisis response measures to prevent future accidents and minimize casualties.

In contrast, Railway Administration During Lalu Prasad Yadav’s tenure as Railway Minister from 2004 to 2009

During Lalu Prasad Yadav’s tenure as Railway Minister from 2004 to 2009, Indian Railways faced a period marked by frequent accidents, highlighting significant challenges in infrastructure maintenance and safety protocols. Despite implementing financial reforms that improved the financial health of the railways, the response to accidents under his leadership often drew criticism for delays in rescue operations and inadequate compensation to victims and their families. During Lalu Prasad Yadav’s tenure as Railway Minister from 2004 to 2009, Indian Railways witnessed several significant accidents that drew attention due to their severity and impact on passengers and infrastructure.

Here are details of some notable incidents:

Gyaneshwari Express derailment (2009):

  • Date: May 28, 2009
  • Location: Near Jhargram, West Bengal
  • Details: The Gyaneshwari Express, traveling from Kolkata to Mumbai, derailed after Maoists sabotaged the tracks by removing fishplates and placing explosives. The derailment resulted in over 140 deaths and left numerous passengers injured. This incident highlighted security vulnerabilities along railway tracks passing through Naxal-affected areas.

Sainthia train collision (2010):

  • Date: July 19, 2010
  • Location: Sainthia station, West Bengal
  • Details: Two passenger trains, the Vananchal Express and the Uttar Banga Express, collided at Sainthia station. The collision occurred due to a signal error, leading to the death of over 60 passengers and injuring many others. It raised concerns about railway signaling and communication systems.

Kanpur train derailment (2007):

  • Date: June 21, 2007
  • Location: Near Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh
  • Details: The Lucknow-bound Shram Shakti Express derailed, causing several coaches to overturn. The derailment resulted in multiple fatalities and injuries among passengers. Investigations pointed to track defects and maintenance issues as contributing factors.

Farakka Express derailment (2004):

  • Date: June 22, 2004
  • Location: Near Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh
  • Details: The Farakka Express derailed on its journey, leading to casualties and injuries among passengers. The derailment was attributed to a combination of track conditions and operational issues.

Mumbai train blasts (2006):

  • Date: July 11, 2006
  • Location: Mumbai suburban trains
  • Details: Coordinated bombings targeted several suburban trains during the evening rush hour. Explosions occurred in seven train compartments, resulting in numerous fatalities and injuring hundreds of passengers. This tragic incident was a terrorist attack that severely impacted Mumbai’s local train network and raised security concerns.

These accidents during Lalu Prasad Yadav’s tenure highlighted various safety and security challenges within the Indian Railways, including infrastructure maintenance, signaling systems, and vulnerabilities to external threats like terrorism. Each incident prompted inquiries and reforms aimed at enhancing safety measures and improving crisis response capabilities within the railway network.

Comparing the railway administrations during Lalu Yadav’s tenure and PM Modi’s tenure involves examining their respective approaches, achievements, and challenges:

  • Financial Management: Lalu Yadav focused on financial turnaround through revenue enhancement and cost-cutting, whereas PM Modi’s tenure has seen increased investment in infrastructure and safety measures.
  • Safety and Efficiency: PM Modi’s administration has prioritized safety and modernization, introducing technological advancements and focusing on reducing accidents.
  • Infrastructure Development: Both administrations have emphasized infrastructure development, but PM Modi’s tenure has seen larger-scale projects aimed at modernizing and expanding the railway network.

In conclusion, while Lalu Yadav’s tenure focused on financial reforms and profitability, PM Modi’s tenure has emphasized safety, modernization, and infrastructure development to meet the growing demands of India’s railway system. Each tenure has its unique challenges and achievements based on the priorities and strategies of the respective administrations.

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Ashwini VaishnawKanchanjunga Express Accidentlalu yadavPM ModiStrategic approachTDG TheDailyGuardianTrain Accidents