|Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit|
The recent train derail in Bihar killing 6 passengers & several injured reveals the fact that the increasing number of train accidents is alarming and is also a symptom of the rot within. These are needless deaths, which happen only in India which is really disgusting. In order to prevent the recurrence of such mishaps, the modernisation of safety equipment, the maintenance of track and signals, the re-training and fitness of the staff, especially drivers, their assistants, guards, and those at the stations need to be improved. On the one hand, safety measures are out of place and, on the other, safety awareness is abysmally low among people. How many of us know what to do in cases of emergency? Our Railway Minister needs efficient, adequate and trained staff too, for turning the vision into reality. As evident due to trains derailment and accidents, our country faced lot of loss the precious lives of passengers, private & public property as well as caused fear in the minds of commuters to refrain from using rail journeys to reach their destination.
It is a fact that railway traffic has grown disproportionately to railway infrastructure, particularly railroads and routes. There are serious flaws in the scheduling of trains on some routes. So much so that the Railway system would not be able to handle the traffic on certain routes if all trains were to run as per schedule. Every year we introduce new trains without improving the infrastructure. While a probe has been ordered, and compensations announced, the history of Indian Railways is not very bright when it comes to safety.
It has become a routine for the Railway Ministers and officials to rush to the scene of accident, express their sorrow and opinion for its cause, announce ex-gratia payments to the victims' families and initiate an inquiry, and there ends the matter. It is clear that the phenomenal advance in modern technology has not led to the upgradation of safety to the desired extent.
In addition to use of new technology for improvement, great need is to felt to look after the manpower behind the rail in terms of providing better facilities in incentives, promotions, trainings, healthcare, accommodation and proper rests to shift workers and imparting yoga & meditation for their well-beings and also devise mechanisms to comfort their families, which play pivotal role to bring mission of Railway Minister's dream and mission comes true.
But safety hardly seems to improve. Has any action taken on various inquiries instituted by railways in the past after accidents ? No ! Successive governments have ignored warnings given by expert committees and engineers of the Indian Railways on track safety and maintenance. Every time a major train accident occurs, we get down to postmortem on the reasons that caused the accident. Every time a serious accident occurs, the Railway Ministry announces a probe. While chanting the development mantra, the Railways should take care not to compromise safety. The Railways should allocate sufficient funds for passenger safety and learn from other countries, if necessary. Let us stop the blame game and focus on safety measures so that these accidents can be avoided in future. It is only the common man who has to pay the price for all this with his life. It is time for a systemic overhaul, including safety measures, on a war footing. The Indian Railways needs to launch 'Zero Accident Mission' in a definite time frame.