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Indian Railway safety statistics - and complaints

nabadip - Mon, 20 Jun 2005 14:45:58 +0530

How safe is Indian Railways?
- By Ramesh Ramachandran
Asian Age

New Delhi, June 19: Is the Indian Railways safe? Railways minister Lalu Prasad Yadav would have passengers believe that under his guidance train travel has become more safe as fewer accidents are taking place. But a look at the facts demonstrates that this is more because of sheer luck and not because of specific safety measures that have been implemented by the authorities over the past several years.

If a train reaches its destination, passengers should count themselves lucky that the driver was sober and had not had too much of alcohol, was less stressed out, the gang man, who has to inspect several-kilometre-length of rail track for wear and tear, had actually walked in the sun and not sat sipping tea in the shade, and the station master was behind his desk and not selling train tickets to fill up for the staff that did not show up on duty.

There are about 20,000 vacancies in Group D in safety category and 3,500 vacancies in the Railway Protection Force. Such is the situation that the railways are even considering reemploying drivers who are nearing retirement age by extending their services by upto one year. Also under consideration is engagement of personnel on eight-hour-shifts at unmanned railway crossings. All this when two-thirds of the accidents occur because of staff failure.

The railways may claim that accidents have reduced despite a manifold increase in passenger and freight traffic, but even today, six "consequential accidents" occur every week and that includes collision, derailment and fire. Then there are 19,000 unmanned level-crossings that claim 141 lives per year and injure another 158. In fact, there has been a 23 per cent increase in accidents at level-crossings in the past decade alone.

An analysis of data collected over a period of 10 years suggests that 75 per cent of all accidents occurring in the railways can be attributed to derailment followed by accidents at level-crossings (16 per cent) and collisions (seven per cent). However, it is level-crossings (46 per cent) that claim more lives than collisions (38 per cent) and derailments (14 per cent) put together.

The railways also claim to have taken certain measures for safety like track-circuiting and anti-collision devices, but resource crunch and technical snags have conspired to delay completion of those projects.

Incidentally, track-circuiting was first recommended by the Sikri Committee about three decades ago. The project, which is being implemented in 930 locations, is expected to take another four years for completion.

A further indication of how the railways function can be had from the fact that new trains are introduced without giving much attention to what the chief commissioner of railway safety may have to say.

The chief commissioner of railway safety, who plays a a very important role for giving approval for opening new lines, complains that general managers do not give adequate notice when rules stipulate that all relevant information has to be delivered to him one month before a new line is opened.

nabadip - Fri, 29 Jul 2005 01:43:27 +0530
Railway security to be beefed up

BHUBANESWAR, July 27. Security measures will be beefed up in the trains plying in the East Coast Railway zone in view of the growing train robberies. Mobile outposts will be set up in each train and strength of train guards will be doubled.

The above decision was taken at the meeting of the senior officers of government railway police, railway protection force, and state police of Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand, held at the headquarters of East Coast Railways today.

Each mobile outpost will be manned by one assistant sub-inspector and 4 constables. The victim passengers will lodge their complaint with the mobile outpost on the basis of which investigation will take place. crying.gif

In order to prevent looting of passengers after drugging them, albums of notorious culprits will be kept in the train to identify them. crying.gif SNS