The Indian Railways has set a new safety record. For the first time in 35 years, the national transporter recorded less than 100 accidents in a year.
In the last financial year that ended 31 March, the railways recorded 73 accidents – 29 per cent fewer than the 104 in 2016-17.
While the number of derailments came down to 39 from 68 in 2016-17, accidents at unmanned level crossings have come down from 15 to just eight. The casualty figures, too, have come down significantly from 2016-17, when at least 150 people had died after the Indore-Patna Express derailed near Kanpur.
At least 1,503 unmanned level crossings and 484 manned level crossings were eliminated by the construction of over-bridges and under-bridges in 2016-17. The introduction of Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches to replace conventional ones has also reduced the chances of a derailment.
In the 2017-18 Budget, the government had set up the Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh, a special safety fund with a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore for financing safety-related works. Besides, the railways has speeded up the use of modern technology such as ultrasonic systems to detect defect on tracks.
In a related development, the Indian Railways has also set a new record by transporting over 1,160 million tonnes of freight in 2017-18.