30,000 deaths in 3 years due to trespassing, other incidents: Indian Railways tells Niti Aayog

In a letter to Railway Board Chairman, Niti Ayog CEO had taken note of the Indian Railways' claim of zero deaths in the current fiscal and only five deaths in 2019-20 and questioned the reliability of the data while pointing towards over thousand deaths in Mumbai suburban section every year.

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The Railways has said that all 29,000 to 30,000 deaths on its premises in last three years were caused by tresspassing or untoward incidents (AFP image for representational purposes)

In last three years, around 29,000-30,000 people died due to trespassing and other untoward incidents on railway premises, Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav said on Thursday.

After government thinktank Niti Aayog raised queries about its zero fatality data recorded in the last fiscal, the Railways on Thursday said that it does keep a record of all the deaths that have occurred on its premises under three separate heads -- consequential accidents, trespassing and untoward incidents.

“It is true that consequential accidents were indeed zero in 2019-2020 and so far this year as well. We keep records of deaths due to trespassing like when people come on the tracks and are run over or people standing on the footboard of trains or hanging out of trains. In the last three years, around 29,000 to 30,000 people have lost their lives due to either trespassing or untoward incidents," said CRB Yadav.

In a letter to Railway Board Chairman, Niti Ayog CEO had taken note of the Indian Railways' claim of zero deaths in the current fiscal and only five deaths in 2019-20 and questioned the reliability of the data while pointing towards over thousand deaths in Mumbai suburban section every year.

"I would like to draw your attention to the fact that many of these deaths are caused by people falling overboard or from the platform on to the tracks. Hence, this should not be excluded from the purview of RRSK. It should be ideally recorded officially," the CEO said in his letter.

In a press briefing on Thursday, Yadav said that this data will be given to Niti Aayog.

The Railways also termed the Amritsar tragedy of 2018 as a case of trespassing. In the Amritsar tragedy, as per official count, 59 people were killed and over 100 were injured after being run over by two passenger trains while they were watching Dussehra celebrations.

Yadav also said that efforts are on to ensure that deaths due to such incidents will reduce over time.

After the briefing by Yadav, Railways issued a statement saying that while more than 8 billion passengers travelled by trains last year, but there were zero passenger fatalities due to accidents.

“This has been achieved with lots of efforts on the part of Railways. While the deaths of passengers due to railway accidents have become zero, unfortunate casualties do occur due to trespassing and untoward incidents like falling from trains and that due to negligence or carelessness on the part of passengers/public. These are incidents on which Railways have little or no control. Efforts are on to sensitise the public on avoiding such situations,” it said.

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