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Train derailments in India: Number of deaths in 2016-17 were highest in a decade

- Chaitanya Mallapur

India’s death toll from train derailments in 2016-17 is now the highest it has been in a decade, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of data tabled in the Upper House of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, on 31 March, 2017 and 11 August, 2017.

The derailment of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express 19 on August, 2017, killed more than 20 and injured over 200 people.

The toll of 193 dead comes during a year that reported the fewest train accidents over 10 years (104) ending March 2017; 78 of these accidents were derailments.

As many as 1,394 train accidents were reported in India over the ten years considered for this analysis. Of these accidents, 51% or 708 were due to derailments.

As many as 458 people have died due to train derailments over the last 10 years.

Track failures and subsequent derailments are caused by twin factors–excessive traffic and under-investment in rail infrastructure, IndiaSpend reported on 3 April, 2017.

As much as 40% of Indian Railways’ 1,219 line sections are utilised beyond capacity, Indiaspend reported.

As many as 29 train accidents were reported in the first six months of 2017, killing 57 people and injuring 58, according to this reply to the Lok Sabha, Parliament’s Lower House, on 19 July, 2017. Of the 29 accidents, 69% or 20 were due to derailment, claiming 39 lives and injuring 54.

(Mallapur is an analyst with IndiaSpend.)

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Updated Date: Aug 22, 2017 10:37:17 IST