Wed, 04 October 2023
The Daily Ittefaq

Is India doing enough to make train travel safe?

Update : 05 Jun 2023, 01:37

The Odisha train crash has put a fresh spotlight on safety as the government modernizes the country's extensive railway network and infrastructure.

With the death toll now at 300 and over 1,000 injured, the tragic accident in Balasore, eastern Odisha has once again focused attention on the issue of railway safety in India.

The crash was one of the country's deadliest train accidents in decades, and occurred at a time when the government has been trying to make rail travel a pleasurable, and, more importantly, safe experience.

Such crashes are far from unprecedented in India. In 1999, a collision between two trains in West Bengal killed 285 people, and in 2010, 145 died in the same state when a passenger train derailed and was hit by a cargo train. More recently, in 2016, 160 people died when a passenger train traveling between the cities of Indore and Patna slipped off its tracks.

For the last few years, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been trying to stimulate its rail modernization push by introducing high-speed, automated trains in one of the largest and busiest rail networks in the world. This includes a plan to have 100% electrification of the railways by 2024 and make the network carbon-neutral by 2030.

Earlier this year, German engineering giant Siemens received a huge order to manufacture 1,200 electric trains, while Japanese expertise has been commissioned to provide technology and finance to assist in the construction of the first bullet train, a 508-kilometer (316-mile) link between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

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