The compensation paid by the railways is sometimes more than the budget outlay for passenger amenities on the suburban stations. This shows the huge danger in travelling by Mumbai suburban system. On an average, around 3,700 people are killed in train-related accidents every year. This not only is a blow to victims’ families buts all 75.5 lakh commuters using the network daily.
Passenger amenities include levelling of platforms, opening of ticket windows, construction or maintenance of foot overbridges and building toilets. Over the past couple of years, Central Railway (CR) paid Rs71.2 crore to people who have either died or were injured in accidents. The amount CR got for passenger amenities was Rs30 crore, of which, only Rs10 crore was for Mumbai’s suburban system.
The situation at Western Railway is the same. While the money allotted for passenger amenities was Rs25 crore, the compensation it gave between April 2012 and March 2013 was Rs14 crore.
The compensation figure between April 2013 and March 2014 could be still higher though officials say the same can’t be said about the passenger amenities budget, thanks to the tight railway’s finances. The situation is unlikely to change as passengers on suburban network has crossed the 75 lakh mark – 40 lakhs in CR and 35 lakhs in WR, say officials.
The Mumbai bench of the Railway Claims Tribunal, which handles the maximum cases, sees 14 cases being filed every day and has around 4,000 pending cases. The highest claim is for Rs4 lakh for death as well as major disability or blindness. There is a demand to increase the compensation rates as the rule was formed in 1990 and since then inflation has devalued the amounts, said officials.