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HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014

5 train mishaps, 53 dead: Normal, says rail minister

Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, January 28, 2010
First Published: 23:19 IST(28/1/2010) | Last Updated: 23:21 IST(28/1/2010)

Fifty-three people died in five accidents involving nine trains in less than three months. The location each time was Uttar Pradesh.

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But it’s normal. Minister of State for Railways KH Muniyappa said on Thursday, “Itna vast network hai. Ek-do accident to chalta hai (the railway network is so vast that one or two accidents are
normal).”

At a meeting with media persons in Lucknow during his two-day visit to the state, he said, “The length of the railway network is 63,000 km and 10,000 trains ply everyday. Safety of every single passenger cannot be ensured.”

But he was quick to add that the ministry had taken the accidents seriously and new technologies would be installed to ensure safety.

Blaming fog in the Allahabad division of North Central Railway, where maximum same-track collisions have taken place, he said, “We have suspended the erring officials. We’re doing our best. Every life is precious.”

Muniyappa, however, seemed reluctant to explain why accidents were taking place in the areas with automated colour signal systems and why the railways’ phone enquiry service never worked properly.

But the minister punctuated his answers with a liberal dose of references to “(UPA chairperson) Sonia (Gandhi) Ji and (Railway Minister) Mamata (Banerjee) Ji”, assuring the media that these two ladies’ “netratwa evam margdarshan (leadership and foresight)’ would help him address all the  issues.


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