How many people lost their lives over the Western railways tracks?
It is sometimes seen that if the same information is called from two different organisations, the facts and figures which are provided may be different from the two sources. When Samir Zaveri asked the Western railways and the Railway Police about the number of persons who died and suffered injuries in accidents on the tracks on the Western line of suburban railways, he was provided two sets of answers.
· The Western railways informed that 1535 persons were injured and 578 died between Churchgate and Dahanu road station in 2014.
· The GRP replied that around 1275 persons suffered injuries, while around 1200 people died in accidents on railway tracks.
The stark difference in the fatalities which is almost double in the GRP data indicates a big question mark about the quality and manner of collection of data. Even if one assumes that some of the individuals succumbed to their injuries on the way to hospital, the data still does not match as the total number of accidents that include injured as well as dead remain different. As per the WR data, the total number is 2,113, while GRP places the number at 2,475. The RTI reply has shown that the most accident prone stations on WR are Andheri, Goregaon, Malad, Kandivli, Borivli and Virar.
Proper data keeping is essential as the not just for policy purposes, but also to understand the magnitude of problems to design measures to tackle death on tracks. A public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Zaveri in Bombay High Court for providing medical aid to persons who meet with accidents on the railway tracks is pending. Last year, the Court had directed the railways to set up emergency medical rooms at the railway stations as the chances of survival improve drastically if medical aid is provided during the first hour of accident.