Railway officials enjoy luxurious facilities but fail to ensure passenger safety in trains, laments HC

Higher officials serving in the Indian Railways enjoy sophisticated and luxurious facilities such as residential accommodation and recreation clubs but when it comes to operating Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) and other trains, they seldom give attention to passenger safety and operate the trains with wide entrances sans doors, the Madras High Court has lamented.

Justice S.M. Subramaniam wrote: “It is painful to state that the higher officials of the Indian Railways are receiving very decent salary from the tax payers’ money. Therefore, they are expected to perform their public duties with high responsibility and accountability. Public authorities are expected to consider the plight of the poor citizens of our great nation.”

He went on to state that “large number of untoward incidents are not teaching any lesson to the railway authorities to formulate a scheme to improve the safety measures in EMU trains. Very old coaches are made available for the passengers and speedy measures are not taken to provide adequate safety as well as to control the passengers.”

Compensation ordered

Ordering a compensation of ₹8 lakh along with interest at the rate of 6% per annum to the family of a 38-year-old woman who had died after a fall from a train between Kodambakkam and Nungambakkam railway stations in Chennai in 2014, the judge said, a large number of women employees use the EMUs to travel between their homes and workplaces.

“After duty hours, they rush to board the EMUs to reach their homes within a reasonable travel time. The women employees have to take care of their children and family members… With this pressure, more number of women are forced to travel by standing in EMU trains. Entry in EMUs are broader than those in express trains. No doors are provided to close the entry in the EMUs after boarding of passengers.

“Therefore, there is a possibility of falling down from a running train due to jerk and jolt. Adequate safety measures are not provided, more specifically, in EMU trains. Public authorities are expected to consider the plight of the poor citizens of our great nation… The railway authorities are expected to act consciously and in consonance with the constitutional philosophy,” the judge observed.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 1:17:48 AM |

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