Centre doesn’t know how many people die in rail accidents

The Railway Ministry can’t decide on one figure in reply to the same question and quotes different numbers in Rajya Sabha

Photo by Chahatram/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Chahatram/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

NH Web Desk

The Modi government at the Centre perhaps does not know how many people die or are injured in train accidents. Or, the govt does not want to reveal the facts to the public. Possibly this is the reason why the government has given two figures in response to one question.

This year, BJP MP Chunnibhai Kanjibhai Gohil had asked in Rajya Sabha (Qs 3007) on August 11 about the number of train accidents and deaths that took place in 2015-16 and 2016-17. According to the reply given by the Railways Minister of State, 107 rail accidents took place in 2015-16 in which 122 people died and in 2016-17, 238 people died in 104 accidents.

The same day, a BJP MP from Rajasthan had asked the same question through question number 3027 in the Rajya Sabha. In the written reply to this question, the Railways Minister of State kept the number of accidents the same but reduced the number of casualties to 97 for the year 2015-16 and to 181 for 2016-17.

A government which flaunts data at the drop of a hat presents different figures in response to the same question. All the ministries and the social media team of the BJP which keep tweeting impressive graphics on every trivial issue just overlook this discrepancy in figures.

Centre doesn’t know how many people die in rail accidents
A graph showing why train accidents take place

Another interesting fact related to rail accidents also reveals how the Central government twists and presents data to project its positive image. This year in April, in a reply to a question, the Railways Minister presented some figures which are once again different from the data cited above. But yes, this time these figures were called ‘provisional’.

However, the Railway Ministry releases an annual yearbook detailing all statistics. In this yearbook, the ministry gives only the number of casualties in rail accidents but not the number of total deaths. According to the yearbook of 2015-16, 40 passengers had died in rail accidents that year.

Interestingly, this government is always ranting over the implementation of plans on the ground and always talks about ‘real time delivery’ but Ministry of Railways does not provide any real time data of its activities and schemes. For example, the figures cited for the year 2015-16 in response to the question are actually a year old. And the data for 2016-17 are not even available as yet.

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