Fewer accidents produce more deaths

More than 260 people have been killed in accidents since the Trinamool Congress leader took charge as railway minister last May. Two hundred 200 have died in a space of 50 days in two accidents.

The October 21, 2009, accident at Banjana near Mathura was the first blot in Mamata’s leadership, in which 22 were killed and 26 injured as the Goa Express rammed the Mewar Express.

On November 14, 2009, the Delhi-bound Mandore Express derailed with some portion of the track piercing its AC compartment, leaving seven passengers dead and over 60 injured in Bassi near Jaipur.

The thick fog that often blanket North India caused three accidents involving five trains on January 2, 2010, in Uttar Pradesh, claiming 15 lives. A fortnight later, Kalindi and Shramshakti Expresses collided in thick fog in UP killing three and injuring a dozen.

The biggest rail tragedy in Mamata’s tenure so far occurred on  May 28, when the Jyaneshwari Express derailed, killing at least 148 people.

The toll increased in scale, even as the railway ministry figures revealed a steady decline in the number of rail accidents per year since 2004. The number of accidents that stood at 325 during 2003-04 dropped to 234 during the following year.

Since 2006-07, the figures dropped from 195 to 177 (in 2008-09) and to 162 (in 2009-10).

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