Disregard for safety
One more day, one more train accident. Railways minister Suresh Prabhu has indicated that he has offered to resign after the Kaifiyat Express’s derailment, which came two days after the derailment of the Kalinga Utkal Express.
But that’s a sideshow.
The real problems are institutional, creating a vicious, self-perpetuating cycle.
There are several reports and studies that offer recommendations on how to break out of it—detailing, for example, how the Indian Railways can prioritize safety, improve infrastructure, adopt technology that will improve safety standards and overhaul the entire institution. But to address those institutional issues, sustained political will is needed.
That will has been conspicuously lacking across governments. Populist appeals to core constituencies by introducing new trains and lack of reforms on the pricing front haven’t helped.
There is an overall lack of a culture of safety in the Indian Railways. Changing this will take more than lip service.
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