When I heard the news I was angry that nearly 30 people died on the tracks. When I read the news articles my anger increased when I heard that they were trapped between two trains without any room to escape. I was furious when I learnt that the men, women and kids were in a death trap and they were in the trap by choice. What kinds of idiots share this same sky?
Promptly the enraged people burn the train, thrash the drivers and politicians jump into the fray asking for compensation and every other now expected reaction to a calamity which could have been easily avoided. What must be done to explain to people that walking on tracks is life threatening? The argument that literacy or lack of it may be a cause cannot hold water as every other day one literate idiot kills himself on the tracks in Chennai, usually the deceased will be going to or back from work.
Walking on rail tracks is a crime that is punishable but the punishment is a joke in itself like every other deterrent around. The fundamental question remains; is a life worth just the fine amount of 200 odd rupees? And the next question is must the state compensate these idiots? When the microfinance crisis erupted in the Andhra Pradesh (the united state), political contingencies and populism combined to announce a compensation of 5 lakhs to every borrower who committed suicide due to debt. This single act made some realize that they were worth more dead than alive…
Simple things - do not cross the tracks, do not walk on tracks with the mobile phone, do not stand on the steps of the running train, ignored every day and the anger is shown on the railways. The life line of the country that is struggling to stay afloat carrying people across the land at a fraction of the fare it will cost otherwise. Every day a greater number of people who seldom pay for the ride use the services of the railways and usually inconvenience many of the paying passengers. The papers report a 90 crore loss and this will get compounded by a compensation which will most likely be forced on the railways in view of the elections ahead.
Spare a thought for the driver(s). They usually do a thankless job and do long hours. A study of the suburban train drivers of Chennai had shown most of them to be overworked and carrying a host of illness that comes with stress. The probability of the long distance train drivers being different is remote. These drivers will have to carry the guilt of so many deaths to their grave and it may not be easy to forget this. Trains run on rails because they simply have the right of way and it is for this reason that traffic and people are stopped by barriers at level crossings wherever possible. Unmanned crossings are being gradually replaced by over bridges or being manned simply because there are many more idiots around. It is reported that the driver of the train going at 80kmph had applied the emergency brakes and ended up with so many causalities. Imagine a few hundred tonnes of metal hurtling along at 80kmph being brought to a sudden stop, the possibility of the train jumping the tracks or hitting the other trains could have resulted in greater damage. The public thrashes the drivers and sets the train(s) on fire.
My sympathies are with the drivers. An unconfirmed report says that he was beaten to death. What kinds of idiots share this same sky?
Image Courtesy: Google Images