At the cost of lives and safety

Dear Editor,
This refers to the report, “13 children killed as train hits school van” (National, April 27, 2018). Misplaced priorities have given birth to another tragic incident in which 13 school children have been killed after a speeding train smashed a school van at an unmanned crossing at Kushinagr near Gorakhpur. When will all these unattended railway crossings be upgraded either by employing permanent gate keepers or by building flyovers over the crossings?
It is also a matter of grave concern that railway tracks are not being properly maintained. Track fractures are suspected to be the cause of a derailment massacre of a recent rail accident and old ICF coaches have added insult to injury.
The irony is that while the Ahmedabad – Mumbai, bullet train project will cost Rs. One lakh crore; financial constraints hinder track renewal, replacement of coaches, modernisation of signalling systems and building flyovers over railway crossings.
Then, why on earth must we give priority to bullet trains? Is not it a criminal negligence on the part of the Indian Railways to compromise on safety standards? Is our democracy of the political leaders, by the poor voters and for the super rich? Our government must not ensure speed for the rich at the cost of our lives and safety.
Sujit De,