Kottur-Harihar BG line opened flouting safety norms: CAG

Rlys did not make contractors rectify deficiencies, says report

The new broad gauge railway line between Kottur and Harihar was opened despite major deficiencies in tracks, “compromising the safe operation of trains and safety of travelling passengers,” the latest report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has revealed.

Moreover, rail authorities wrongly reported about it to the Commissioner of Railway Safety to get safety clearance.

“Thus, the track has been left with inherent major deficiencies. The commissioning of the new line without rectifying the major deficiencies has resulted in opening of a new line section for regular traffic, compromising on the safe operation of trains and safety of travelling passengers,” says the report that was tabled last week in Parliament.

The report reveals that the construction authorities, South Western Railway, Bengaluru Cantonment (CNBNC), could have got the deficiencies rectified by the contractors free of cost or they could have done it themselves. But, the authorities only imposed a penalty on the contractor.

Although RDSO (Research and Design Standard Organisation, Lucknow), the ultimate technical advisor of Indian Railways had detected serious deficiencies with reference to the prescribed standards/specifications, the CNBNC administration failed to get the defects rectified free of cost from the contractors, thus compromising on the standards fixed for safety of track formation,” says the report.

“The CNBNC administration, instead, proceeded to complete ballasting and track linking works. Even though RDSO had pointed out serious deficiencies in formation work, the construction authorities certified the execution of work as acceptable at the time of CRS inspection,” the report says. “Further, instead of directing the contractors to rectify the defects, a penalty of Rs 2.36 crore only was levied on the contractors towards deficient work. CNBNC also did not rectify the work themselves,” it adds.

“The CRS authorised the new line section for running passenger trains as - One Train Only System - and the train services commenced (in March 2014). No document was available with the construction authorities to show the reasons for introduction of One Train Only System,” the CAG says.

“The matter was brought to the notice of the Railway Board in May 2014, their reply has not been received (July 2014),” laments the report.

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