9 December 2023
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  • 8:37 am In Ken Loach’s ‘The Old Oak’, a solidarity that transcends differences
  • 8:36 am The mystery of Snowa Borno: A Finnish woman who writes in Hindi, or a male writer’s nom de plume?
  • 7:07 am ‘The Muslim Secular’: This book argues that Muslims contribute equally to Indian secularism
  • 7:06 am In animated film ‘The Siren’, a reminder that ‘democracy and peace are never eternal’
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On June 3, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to virtually flag off a Goa-Mumbai Vande Bharat Express train. The event was postponed after one of the worst train accidents in India’s history took place the previous night. More than 290 persons were killed and over 900 injured as three trains collided with each other in Odisha’s Balasore city.

The Goa-Mumbai train was eventually flagged off towards the end of June with fanfare on official social media handles, which has been a regular feature for Vande Bharat trains, much touted by the government for their high speed. However, social media users pointed out that tickets for flights on the same route were available for cheaper prices.

The horrific accident in Balasore and the unaffordability of Vande Bharat trains are examples of misplaced priorities in the railways under the Modi government. Initiatives like the Vande Bharat trains have been promoted to make a case for modernisation of the railways. But this has happened at the cost of ignoring matters of fundamental importance like safety, punctuality, availability of seats and revenue generation.

The concerns came to the fore over the last week as many headed back to their homes during the festive season. There were reports of violence due to trains being cancelled and…

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Abdul Gh Lone