2015 may be Rlys' Annus Horribilis
NEW DELHI: The Railways witnessed the highest number of train accidents in the current year compared to the last three years, with 70 per cent of them being caused by failure of the staff. The number of people killed at unmanned railway crossings in 2014-15 increased to 126 as compared to 98 in the previous year.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has announced the elimination of 3,438 unmanned railway crossing in 2015-16 as they pose a challenge to the Railways. Of the total 30,348 level-crossings nationwide, 11,563 are unmanned. And 123 people were killed and 335 sustained injuries, some of them life-changing ones in the 80 train accidents witnessed this year.
The figure was 71 accidents, 54 dead and 119 injures in 2013-14 while 69 accidents were reported in 2012-13 in which 81 people died and 300 were injured. The highest number of accidents was reported in East Central zone, followed by Northern and central.
The loss of railway property as a result of the mishaps stands at Rs 41 crore in 2014-15 against Rs 28 crore in 2013-14. Railways also paid a compensation of Rs 1.2 crore this year to the kin of the dead and injured in accidents.
Based on the inquiry reports, including prime-facie, cause analysis of the train accidents found that 57 of the 80 were caused by failure of Railway staff in 2014-15 while it was 50 in 2013-14.
According to Prabhu, safety has been accorded top priority and all possible steps are being undertaken to prevent accidents and to enhance safety.
They include timely replacement of assets, adoption of suitable technologies for upgradation and maintenance of track, rolling stock, signaling and interlocking systems, safety drives and greater emphasis on training of officials.
The ministry has taken a series of steps to prevent accidents at unmanned level-crossings, including closing of crossings and construction of rail over-bridge and rail under-bridge.
Deployment of Gate Mitra and Gate Counsellors at unmanned level crossings has commenced at certain places.