Harish Jharia

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15 April 2011

Dangerous journeys on Indian Railways: Indian Volley ball player Arunima Sinha (Sonu) thrown out of a running train by goons ... averted death by a whisker

Indian National level Volleyball player Arunima Sinha (Sonu)

Dangerous journeys on Indian Railways:  Indian Volley ball player Arunima Sinha (Sonu) thrown out of a running train by goons ... averted death by a whisker 

India railways boast of their largest network and infrastructure in the world; but, the maintenance, operation, facilities and safety of passengers appear to be the worst across the globe. 

The latest example of unsafe journeys on Indian trains is the free for all game played by 3 goons on Padmavat Express on 11 April 2011, Monday night between Chenati and Bareilly railway stations. These hooligans attacked Arunima Sinha (Sonu), a 23-year-old woman national level volleyball player on this train, tried to snatch her gold chain and threw her out of the train when opposed by her. 

Arunima Sinha (Sonu) fell on the adjoining train track on which another train was gushing in towards the place on incident. The other train was moving in full speed and approached so very close to her that she could not move her body for saving her from the sudden death trap. She however averted death by a whisker but lost half of her left leg rendering her a permanent handicapped for life

I heard that once you buy a train ticket and board the respective train, you automatically become eligible for a life insurance of `1,00,000/-. That means if you die or go permanently disabled, the Indian railways or the concerned insurance company will pay you a sum of `1,00,000/- or a part of it. I might be wrong and might be having arbitrary wishful thinking; yet, such a huge organization like Indian railways should have a crisis management system that should act immediately in such cases and arrange relief to the victims of the mismanagement and poor safety measures followed by it. 

Nevertheless, the Indian railways did not surface on the media for quite some time, nor did they approach the victim even from the nearest railway division. It was only today in the morning papers I read the news that Indian railways have offered a job to Arunima Sinha (Sonu) and assured for bearing all the expenses for her treatment.  

Well before the Indian railways, it was Ajay Makan, union sports minister who was the first official authority surfaced on the TV channels extending a financial relief of `25,000/- for her. In spite of this paltry sum of relief, I personally felt satisfied that someone from the government of India has rushed for a sort of crisis management. This financial relief was subsequently enhanced to `2,00,000/- by Ajay Makan and helped Arunima (Sonu) Sinha feel a sense of security as a citizen of the republic of India.  

In spite of all that described in the preceding lines I would express dissatisfaction about the safety and security measures followed by the Indian railways. Firstly they have made it very clear that Indian railways cannot provide security on all the trains. Hence the chapter is closed abruptly by the largest railway infrastructure in the world. Notwithstanding the limitations for addressing problems prevailing across the huge network of endless tracks, the railway administration should at least watch the existing security personnel that are deputed on running trains. 

While travelling in 2nd AC coaches I have many times found security personnel, in uniform, encroaching vacant berths earmarked for quotas of different stations. These soldiers use to stretch-out on the berths and have sound sleep until the corresponding passengers arrive. I have never heard about any railway security personnel coming forward for providing security cover to any passenger like Arunima Sinha (Sonu) in crisis and avert deadly attack or molestation by hooligans and goons. 

Indian Train: Safety and security under scanner...!

Indian railways should learn lessons from this incident and many other ones that occur every day on trains in India and should take remedial measures as follows:
  1. Chalk out proper codes of conduct and proper drill for the security personnel deputed on running trains
  2. There should be a definite crisis management system for the railways for attending to such emergencies and minimize the miseries of the victims 
  3. The on-board Guard, TTE, Conductor, security personnel and dozens of other staff members and workers should be instructed to attend to all such eventualities.
  4. The station master and other staff posted at the railway stations close to the place of incident should also be given responsibilities to attend to such deadly incidents.
  5. A representative form the Railway Ministry should rush to the spot of incident and convey the action plan of the Union Minister of Railways via various medias.  
Read more posts on similar subject:
  1. Indian Railways through Common Man’s Eye:
  2. Plan Your Train Journey and Air travel Through IRCTC
  3. Passengers' Current Status of Reservation


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