The Great Debate (India)

Do frequent accidents indicate a crumbling infrastructure?


At least 60 people were killed when a fast-moving Uttar Banga Express rammed into the waiting Vananchal Express at Sainthia in West Bengal early on Monday.
Soldiers and onlookers gather near the wreckage of train carriages at the site of an accident at Sainthia in West Bengal July 19, 2010. REUTERS/Rupak De ChowdhuriWhile officials have virtually ruled out any terror link, the fact the trains were on the same track when the accident happened, does indicate possible human lapses.

In May, a train sabotage blamed on Maoist rebels killed more than 70 people. Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee came under criticism after the Gyaneshwari Express was attacked.

With a 63,327-kilometre network, the railways play an important role in connecting vast stretches of the country and are seen as an affordable means of travel for India’s burgeoning middle class.

Overcrowding results in daily fatalities as people crammed on the roof tops of trains are often electrocuted by overhead wires.