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Insurance cover likely for railway accident victims

mumbai Updated: Mar 11, 2010 01:45 IST
Urvi Mahajani
Urvi Mahajani
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The railways may soon draft an insurance policy covering the hospitalisation costs of railway accident victims.

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked a private reinsurance firm to come up with guidelines for the insurance scheme and asked the railways authorities to consider it.

Along with those who meet with accidents on railway premises, the policy also proposes to cover those who meet with accidents while crossing tracks and travelling on the roof the train.

These guidelines are likely to be adapted by the railways and then put up for bidding by the insurance firms. “We cannot comment on the issue as it is subjudice and matter lies with the court,” said Western Railway PRO, Nitin David.

After a proposal from an amicus curie (friend of court), the private reinsurance firm was asked to draft a detailed scheme for covering medical treatment in hospitals for railway accident victims. The firm has to submit the draft scheme in 15 days.

So far, the railways only had an insurance policy that compensated families of victims who died in railway accidents. The scheme proposes to cover accident victims up to Rs 1 lakh for providing medical treatment in hospital.

This move comes six years after Samir Zaveri (39), who lost both his legs in a railway accident in 2004, filed a public interest litigation seeking insurance cover for railway accident victims. The step is a significant one considering that the high court had asked the railways to ensure passenger safety after the PIL. As the railways had not implemented all the HC directives on the PIL, Zaveri had filed a contempt petition in November 2009, which the court was hearing on Wednesday. The petition seeks jail term for chief commissioner of railway, general manager of western railway and the officers of the railway board for not implementing court's order.

Advocate Jamshed Mistry, who is the amicus curie, informed the court on Wednesday that a private firm was willing to formulate the draft scheme free of cost.