Will Monica More's accident on Mumbai local wake up the railways?

Tuesday, 14 January 2014 - 7:10am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
An inhuman commuting system kills 10 people daily. Mumbaikars deserve better.

Monica More is writhing in pain at the KEM Hospital in Parel. The 16-year-old is yet to come to terms with the fact that she lost both her arms after slipping from the train at Ghatkopar station and falling in the gap between the platform and footboard onto the tracks.

Last week, in a series called ‘Mind the Gap’, dna pointed out how lives were at risk because of the wide gap between the floor of the trains and platforms. On an average, 10 people die on the tracks every day in train-related accidents in Mumbai. Monica’s case is an example of how those who survive have to pick up the pieces of their lives themselves and wage a lonely battle with the Indian Railways.

A railway accident victim can either claim compensation at the Railway Claims Tribunal (RCT) or file a petition against the railways for negligence like maintaining an unacceptable gap between platforms and coaches. The process is time-consuming. Also, the victim has to go personally to claim compensation.

It is only after a series of hearings that the due compensation is paid to the victim or his/her family, depending on the nature of the injury.   

“The victim can claim compensation after making an application with the RCT in case of an injury. If the person dies, the next of the kin can claim the amount. Documents from the doctor who treated the victim must be attached with the application. If the petitioner is not satisfied with the compensation amount, s/he can approach the high court,” AK Singh, public relations officer for the Central Railway, told dna.

A railway official admitted that the compensation amount was decided in the late 1980s or early ’90s and needs urgent revision. Monica is entitled to Rs4 lakh as compensation since she lost both her arms, which means 80 per cent disability.

The other option is to approach the sessions or high court by filing a petition against railways for negligence. At present, the Bombay high court is hearing a PIL on making the railways disabled-friendly.

Compensation chart
Death  Rs4 lakh
Loss of both hands
Rs4 lakh
Loss of one hand, one foot  Rs 4 lakh
Loss of both legs
Rs 4 lakh
Loss of eyesight
Rs4 lakh
Severe facial disfigurement Rs4 lakh
Absolute deafness
Rs4 lakh
Loss of both feet
Rs3.6 lakh
Loss of thumb Rs1.2 lakh
Loss of four fingers of one hand Rs2 lakh
Loss of three fingers of one hand Rs 1.2lakh
Loss of two fingers of one hand Rs80,000.

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