Day 72 – Q 3. What can be the reasons of high number of accidents and casualties in Indian railways as compared to other railway networks? What steps have been taken by the government to prevent train mishaps?
3. What can be the reasons of high number of accidents and casualties in Indian railways as compared to other railway networks? What steps have been taken by the government to prevent train mishaps?
As per the latest data, train accidents have come down from 118 in 2013-14 to 73 in 2017-18 but still the number is high compared to other railways networks in the world. Not just the numbers, but also the casualties associated are high as was incident in case of Amritsar accident during Dussehra.
Causes of rail accidents in India-
- Derailments- technical faults in the rolling stock, the rails or the security systems, or because of landslides, avalanches or objects obstructing the rails
- Unmanned level crossings (UMLCs)- These are responsible for a number of accidents.
- Collisions- Due to foggy weather, low signal visibility, poor signaling etc.
- Failure of railway staff- Carelessness in working, poor maintenance work, overworked, signaling errors by loco-pilots, adoption of short-cuts and non-observance of laid down safety rules and procedures.
- Under-investment- Lack of adequate investment in the railways infrastructure and maintenance, as has been pointed by the Kakodkar Committee.
- Congestion- Slow expansion of rail networks has put undue burden on the existing infrastructure, leading to severe congestion and safety compromises.
Steps taken by government:
- To provide safeguard in train operation in Automatic Block System during foggy weather, the number of trains are restricted to two between two stations.
- Improving the visibility of signals.
- Fog PASS Device, a Global Positioning System (GPS) based hand held portable device, is used. It serves as an aid for the crew during foggy weather through audio visual alarm, whenever any landmark comes within the geo-fence range.
- ‘Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK)’ had been introduced with a corpus of ₹1 lakh crore over a period of five years from 2017-18 onwards for critical safety related works.
- Switch over to the manufacture of Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches from 2018-19 onwards and stopping the manufacture of ICF coaches. The LHB coaches having superior design and better safety features like anti-climbing features etc.
- Elimination of unmanned level crossings on Broad Gauge through closure, merger, provision of subways and manning, etc.
- New works have been included in the category of Safety works like Platform extension and raising, foot overbridge, pathways and boundary walls etc. to improve passenger safety.
- Delegation of powers and easing of procedures, improving safety awareness amongst railway employees, and better training facilities like imparting simulator based training for improving the driving skills and the reaction time of Loco Pilots.
- Periodic inspections of rails and unmanned crosisngs.
- Heating, Ventilation and Air conditioning of locomotive Cabs (HVACs) – Improvement in the working conditions of loco crew is a priority area for Indian Railways. Provision of AC in loco cab will reduce fatigue level on run and will make working environment of crew better and improve their efficiency.
- Ultrasonic Flaw Detection (USFD) testing of rails to detect flaws and timely removal of defective rails.
- Mechanization of track maintenance is being carried out to reduce human errors.
- Long Rail panels are being used on track to minimize welded joints.
Train accidents cause loss of life and property as well as are detrimental for the economy. Preventing their occurrence will ensure not just safety of lives but will also be beneficial for the economy as a whole.
Best answer: Poojan