NEW DELHI: Three years after Anil Kakodkar-led High Level Safety Review Committee submitted its report to the Railways, Union Minister Suresh Prabhu has asked the Railway Board to submit an implementation plan of its recommendations along with deadlines.
The Kakodkar Committee had submitted its report to the then Rail Minister Dinesh Trivedi in March 2012, but there was no follow-up action.The Railway Board has issues with panel recommendations such as creation of a statutory Railway Safety Authority with enough powers to have a safety oversight on the operational mode of Railways. It is also against the creation of the Member Safety post in the board to oversee safety issues, a job that now comes under the board chairman.
Prabhu recently held a Railway Board meeting and discussed their reservations to the specific recommendations. He also asked the board to prepare an implementation plan with deadlines for recommendations that they have agreed to, so that there is a roadmap on the way forward.
The board is of the view that there is no need for a Railway Safety Authority as a Commission of Railway Safety already exists and if need be, it should be strengthened instead of forming another body. Similar was board’s objection of having Member Safety as that would create another unnecessary bureaucratic post.
The Bibek Debroy Committee, in its final report submitted this month, had also called for adopting the Kakodkar Committee’s recommendations to improve safety.
If the Kakodkar Committee recommendations are accepted, the total financial implication over the five-year period is likely to be Rs 1 lakh crore.
The Kakodkar Committee paints a grim picture of inadequate performance by the Indian Railways, mainly due to poor infrastructure, insufficient resources and lack of empowerment at the functional level. It suggests adoption of advanced signalling system for the entire trunk route length of 19,000 km within 5 years at an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 cr.