New Delhi: Minister of Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal on Saturday held a marathon meeting with members of Railway Board and Safety Directorate of Railway Board to comprehensively review safety measures for train operations. A detailed presentation on safety was made at the meeting. There was threadbare discussion on the subject and the root cause of repeated cases of train accidents in recent past was thoroughly analysed.
In the meeting, Goyal emphasised that the safety is paramount and there cannot and should not be any compromise on this front. He directed officials concerned to undertake five immediate measures to address the problem of unmanned level crossings and derailments. All unmanned level crossings will now be eliminated within a year compared to the earlier target of three years, he added.
Two major causes leading to accidents were identified as :
a) Unmanned Level Crossings accounted for 34% of accidents in 2016-17
b) Derailments due to defects in tracks
The special focus of the meeting was to identify measures to reduce accidents due to derailments, which has emerged as one of the major causes of train accidents. The Railway Minister gave following directions to the Railway Board to ensure safety:
a) All unmanned level crossings should be eliminated expeditiously on the entire Indian Railway network in a year’s time from now.
b) Track replacement/renewal should be accorded priority and the tracks (rails) earmarked for use for constructing new lines should be diverted to places/ stretches which are prone to accidents and where replacement is due.
c) Procurement of new rails on a large scale should be expedited to complete construction of new lines in time.
d) The manufacturing of conventional ICF design coaches should be stopped forthwith and new design LHB coaches should only be manufactured.
e) Anti-Fog LED lights should be installed in Locomotives so that unhindered safe train operations can be ensured during fog season.
The Railway Minister directed the Railway Board to monitor implementations of this action plan on a regular basis.