Panel slams rail ministry for overlooking safety measures

A parliamentary panel on Wednesday slammed the Ministry of Railways for overlooking “safety standards and instructions,” resulting in several accidents.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture in its report said the panel is concerned to note a majority of the recommendations made by the CRS (Commissioner of Railway Safety to ensuring the compliance to instructions /standards are about railway safety. “It means that non-observance of safety instructions/ standards is the main cause of railway accidents,” the committee said
The committee has recommended that the Commissioner Railways Safety should be made autonomous to strengthen safety measures.

“The committee finds that some of the advanced safety systems such as complete track circuiting in station yards, auxiliary warning system in suburban section, audio visual device in locomotives, data loggers and anti-collision device  were recommended by the Commissioner Railway Safety(CRS) for the consideration of the Ministry of Railways.  All of which remain unimplemented so far on one pretext or the other,” the report said.

“The Standing Committee has recommended autonomy to the CRS. The Civil Aviation Ministry provides space to the CRS, but it has to depend on railways for technical and other support,” panel chairman Sitaram Yechury told reporters.  

The committee has recommended that trials on Anti-Collision Device (ACD) should be conducted and deficiency removed to install it on railway routes.“There have been incidents of collision of trains, so it is required that the ACD should be installed,” said Yechury.

The committee in another report on development of inland waterways criticised the Planning Commission for not being interested in development of national waterways.

“The committee feels that the Planning Commission is not much interested in the development of waterways in the country as their reluctance to allocate adequate budget has resulted the two national waterways remain on paper,” it said.Criticising the move to develop national waterways through the public private partnership model, Yechury should this is not possible as private investment will only come if there is a profit.
The government will have to spend on infrastructure.

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