NEW DELHI: The recent spate of train accidents seems to have somewhat woken up railway ministry with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu Thursday reviewing safety performance of public transporter and ordering slew of cosmetic measures ranging from technological upgradation to honing skill of railway staff directly involved with safety of trains. He also warned top officials to either perform or perish.
Two big accidents killing 150 people and injuring over 100 in a gap of one month have raised serious concerns about safety measures put in place by railways. Prabhu held discussion with all the Members of the Railway Board who are involved in safe running of trains.
Addressing all the General Managers of the zonal railways, the minister warned the officials to be ready for consequences for any lapse and further said that responsibility would now to be fixed at higher levels for any future lapses.
Directing board to fast track the procurement of safety equipments and machines, Prabhu has directed that all railway installations should be inspected over the next one week to identify and rectify the shortcomings and a report in this regard be submitted within the prescribed time.
“It has also been directed that all Mail/Express trains would have at least one officer or senior subordinate traveling during night hours on locomotives for comprehensive inspection over next 10 days. This will be in addition to the existing schedule and inspection at various levels,” said a senior railway officer.
The ministry felt that there was an urgent need to go back to the basics and insisted that training programmes should be launched immediately to enhance the skill sets of the employees who are dealing with train operations.
“The minister has also directed the Board to relook at the codes and manuals to enhance safety. All railway PSUs like RVNL and RITES will be roped in to offer technological solutions and safety-related inputs on the network. Besides, independent audit of the safety installations is also on the cards,” said the official.
Prabhu also held meeting with for CAG Vinod Rai and nuclear scientist Anil Kakodkar to help in revamping the safety organization structure and also systemic improvements which are needed to improve the safety performance.
Kakodkar was heading the high-level committee that submitted its report to the then rail minister Dinesh Trivedi in March 2012 but report has not been completely implemented.