CRS' approval for new trains infeasible: Railways

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New Delhi, Nov 13: A parliamentary committee has recommended that existing statutory provisions should be amended to make it mandatory for the Railway Ministry to seek the approval of the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) before the introduction of any new passenger train.

The Railway Ministry is, however, not impressed by the recommendation, saying such a stipulation will only delay the ''routine railway business.'' Sticking to its position, the committee said it had no intention to authorise the CRS to decide about the introduction of new passenger trains.

''The committee has desired that before starting the actual operation of any passenger train, the safety aspect should be approved from the Commission of Railway Safety,'' it said.

The parliamentary panel also reiterated its recommendation that existing statutory provisions should be amended to make it mandatory for the Railway Ministry to secure the approval of the CRS before the introduction of any new passenger train.

The ministry contended that no new section for the carriage of passengers can be opened without the CRS having inspected it.

Further, introduction of a new train having new design of a rolling stock cannot take place unless it has been certified by the CRS.

''Therefore, once a type of a train section or a rolling stock is cleared by CRS to run, its replication should not require repetitive certification. This may only delay the routine railway business,'' it said.

It also pointed out that trains are introduced only after ascertaining the need to run additional trains. ''Trains are run in accordance with provisions of General Rules, and maintenance of assets and their renewals are done as per manuals prescribed by Ministry of Railways as safety regulator for operator, i.e. zonal railways, to follow.'' The ministry also sought to allay the apprehension that it would allow any zonal railways to introduce trains indiscriminately.

The parliamentary panel also recommended that the railway administration should refrain from speculating and giving the prima facie cause of a train accident, which is required to be statutorily inquired by the CRS.

In its reply, the ministry said announcement of prima facie cause is generally avoided pending inquiry into the case. ''In fact, the description or circumstances leading to an accident are at times misconstrued as revelation of prima facie cause...At the same time, railway users are keen to know the prima facie cause of accident at the earliest...If the Railways do not indicate their observations, a lot of misinformation is spread out, creating an adverse situation.'' However, the committee recommended that the government should bring a comprehensive legislation to improve the functioning of the CRS in public interest and also expedite finalisation of the proposed Railway Safety Act in a time-bound manner.


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