It's like a scene from an action thriller. But it isn't. It's a real incident captured by CCTV cameras at Lonavala station in Maharashtra.
A young woman tries to get off a running train but slips and gets sandwiched between the train and platform. Men in uniform instantly come forward and rescue her from the precarious position. Miraculously, the young woman appears completely unhurt.
The incident took place early on Monday morning when the Kakinada express was departing from the station.
A report released in July by the Comptroller and Auditor General stated that there were 33,445 deaths while travelling on trains over the past five years. Around 15 per cent of those involved people falling off running trains. Many of these could have been prevented by closing the door on moving trains.
Ramakrishna TS, a professor at TA Pai Managment Institute in Manipal wrote how the safety issue on Indian trains could be solved:
The solution does not lie in adopting a piecemeal approach like providing a random escalator in some station here or a closed door on a train there. The solution has to be complete and holistic. In this the Indian Railways has two choices. The first lies in changing the behaviour of all people who come in contact with the railway system every day, but this involves time, money and effort. The second is to create an ecosystem that does not require people to change their behaviour but still be able to connect with the system safely. It is wise and practically feasible for the Indian Railways to choose and implement the second option.
However, this problem might not be easily rectified. According to data released by the Railway Ministry, 1,22,763 posts lie vacant in safety category of Group C and D of the zonal railways. Fifteen percent of posts remain vacant on an almost continuous basis.
Talking about why this was the case, Shiv Gopal Mishra, general secretary of the AIRF, told the Indian Express, “A lot of individuals taking the job within the safety category are overqualified and while they take this job, they prepare for better jobs and leave it as soon as they get a better opportunity. The attrition rate is very high.”