Railways is one of the biggest ‘killers’ in the country and Mumbai’s suburban system provides the railways a vast majority of its death stats.
On an average, around 3,600 people get killed every year on the city’s suburban network — a vast majority of them while crossing tracks and a considerable number fall off trains.
While crossing tracks is considered a crime under railway rules and is not entitled to compensation, other incidents like falling of trains require that the railways pay for it. It was to pay such compensation that the Railway Claims Tribunal Act was passed in 1987 and claim amounts framed under the Railway Accident and Untoward Incidents (Compensation) Rules, 1990.
The cases are adjudicated by a member from the judiciary and another from the railway services called the member (technical).
Almost grotesque, the compensation chart sets out an amount for almost every kind of injury, the detailing going down to the number of fingers one has lost or down to the last inch of amputation of a body part.
The chart sets out a maximum compensation of Rs4 lakh for death or grievous injury. According to officials, it has also brought about its own share of allegedly fraudulent claims and sometimes fights within the family over who should be given the compensation cheque in case of a favourable ruling.
“Multiple cases are being filed by unscrupulous people at more than one bench of the RCT, which is illegal, and in many cases the addresses are fake. The fact that almost a quarter of the cheques are returned because of wrong address is testimony to that,” said a senior railway official.