New Delhi, December 18
Expressing concern over the number of accidents taking place and derailment being the main reason, a Parliamentary Standing Committee has pulled up the Railways for its failure to maintain the safety standards of the tracks. The panel has observed that during 2003-04 to 2015-16, “derailment was the second highest reason for consequential accidents and casualties”. During 2003-04, out of 239 rail accidents, 202 which was around 85 per cent, were due to derailment, while during 2015-16, out of 78 accidents 65 (around 84 per cent) were due to derailment. The committee said, “The situation does not seem to have improved during 2016-17, where already one devastating major incident of the derailment of Indore-Patna Express leaving 149 dead and more than 180 injured has already occurred”.
The committee had said that since track forms the backbone of rail transportation system, hence it needs to be maintained in safe and fit condition. While pulling the Railways, the panel also observed, “Ideally, out of total track length of 1,14,907 kms, 4500 kms should be renewed annually, however, out of 5000 kms of track length due for renewal as currently, only 2700 kms of track length were targeted to be renewed”.
The panel said that it was evident that the targets kept for track renewals were not commensurate with actual requirement on ground. The committee believes that since Railways was according highest priority to safety, it has asked that physical and financial targets in respect of track renewals need to be enhanced as per the annual requirement for track renewals. Moreover, it also hoped that the Railways’ focussed efforts to reduce the defects in track and rolling stock through detection of faults in tracks by ultrasonic devices, switching from conventional ICF coaches to LHB coaches especially on high-speed, superfast train routes and overnight express trains. It was hopeful that these would yield result and lessen the accidents due to derailment.The Committee has recommended the Railways to completely switch over to the manufacturing of LHB coaches which do not pile up unlike the conventional coaches in case of an accident the toll in the recent accident of Indore-Patna Express on November 20 could have been much lower. It has recommended to the Railways to switch over to LHB coaches replacing the conventional coaches in a time bound manner and in the meantime work on attaching CBC to the ICF designed coach. In any case the existing LHB coaches should be made available on super fast train routes forthwith.
New Delhi, December 18