24 January, 2021

The Ol' Blame Game

The Rafiganj accident once again shows up the Indian Railways' inefficiencies and apathy. Meanwhile, the finger-pointing begins.

Prashant Ravi
The Ol' Blame Game
The Indian Railways, the largest carrier of passenger traffic in the country, became yet another casualty of political wrangling and buck-passing last week when the elite Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express derailed near Rafiganj in Bihar's Aurangabad district on September 9. The district falls under the Mughalsarai division of the railways. Incidentally, around the same time, Union railways minister Nitish Kumar was on board the Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express from Patna. At 1 am, he got a knock on the door of his special minister's bogie and was told of the tragedy unfolding not very far from where he was.

Nitish quickly alighted at Mughalsarai and reached the scene of the accident in the wee hours, but without so much as even the benefit of a preliminary investigation announced that "prima facie evidence suggests the mishap is a case of sabotage". Shaken and grim-faced, he said his conclusions were based on the finding of a "loose fishplate with four bolts lying in a neat line on the left side of the tracks".

The minister's conclusion only triggered a trend in political...


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