Don’t play with fire. This was the clear message to the Railway Ministry from the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways in the aftermath of the recent fire accident in Tamil Nadu Express that claimed 34 lives.
Pointing out that passenger safety should be given utmost priority, the panel pulled up the Railway Ministry for the fire on the S11 coach of the train on July 31 and asked it to find a solution with the help of technology to prevent such incidents.
After a detailed presentation by the Chairman, Railway Board and officials, the panel noted that several incidents of fire have taken place on trains, which is a matter of grave concern.
The committee wanted the Railway Ministry to study the best practices in fire-fighting available in other countries.
It advocated basic fire-fighting training to all Railway personnel who work aboard running trains. It also recommended that Railway Ministry should urgently consider installing automatic fire/smoke alarm systems in all trains and increasingly use fire retardant material in the coaches.
The committee, headed by T R Baalu, also wanted the Railway Protection Force to ensure that passengers do not carry any inflammable material on coaches.
The Railway Board should find ways to ensure that only bona fide passengers travel on trains, it said adding that compensation for the kin of the victims should not be delayed.