Odisha train tragedy: Opposition slams Centre after CRS report flagged 'lapses at multiple levels'

Inquiry report cites faulty signalling and human error as reasons for June 2 triple-train accident.
An aerial view of the triple train crash site in Odisha's Balasore district. (Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)
An aerial view of the triple train crash site in Odisha's Balasore district. (Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

NEW DELHI: The Congress and Trinamool Congress attacked the Modi government on Tuesday saying the government has “compromised” on the core issues of railway safety. The Opposition’s attack on the Modi government came after the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) submitted its report on the triple train accident in Odisha’s Balasore district on June 2, which claimed the lives of more than 250 people.

The CSR report cites faulty signalling systems and human error as the main reasons behind the tragedy. Sources said that a high-level inquiry has found “wrong signalling” to be the main reason for the accident and flagged “lapses at multiple levels” in the Signalling and Telecommunications department, but indicated that the tragedy could have been averted if the past red flags were reported.

“This is what we have been saying all along. In the craze for inaugurating Vande Bharat trains, fixating on bullet trains and tinkering with specialised cadres, the Modi government has compromised on basic issues of railway safety that don’t make for photo-ops and headlines,” Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh tweeted.

He alleged that the Balasore tragedy was a human error, at the root of which is a management failure, which includes the political leadership. “What will it take to bring the overall approach to the railways back on track?” he asked.

At the AICC headquarters, party spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said it is the government’s responsibility to ensure the safety of passengers. “We appeal that do not get into this business of hot food and new Vande Bharats. First ensure the safety of those travelling by train. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that people reach their destinations safely and not just keep flagging off trains,” she said.

Similarly, the Trinamool Congress accused the Centre of “prioritising public relations over passenger safety.” They said concerns raised by the opposition on serious issues regarding the Indian Railways were “disregarded.”

TMC’s Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien said, “India’s passenger trains are neglected and remain mobile mortuaries. In Parliament, opposition parties have often red-flagged serious issues and offered constructive suggestions. No one listened, because public relations is prioritised over passenger safety. Was maintenance jeopardised because it was a service dog, not a show dog?”

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The New Indian Express