This morning we received news that a compartment of the Delhi – Chennai Tamil Nadu Express caught fire and nearly forty passengers were burnt alive. This raises serious concerns. The immediate questions are:
- · Are there fire detectors in trains? If passengers are deep asleep at 4:20 AM, and a fire breaks out, how do they find out that before it is too late? How are the driver and guard to find out?
- · Why are compartments carrying such combustible materials? Is the foam used in cushions the cause, or is there too much wood?
- · Are there adequate fire extinguishers in compartments?
India is getting ready to send a spacecraft to Mars. Why can’t we first learn to send trains safely from Delhi to Chennai?
Are the politicians the cause of the mess railways are in? Are they treating railways as a vote-bank, playing their populist games, ignoring rail safety and the abominable conditions under which millions travel every day? Are they denying railways officers adequate autonomy to run a public service instead of having to beg their masters constantly for adequate budgets?
If we can import various items from abroad, why can’t we encourage Indian private industry to invest and manufacture quality equipment in India? Why is the Japanese private sector ok, but not the Indian private sector?