Decline in train accidents as safety a priority: Velu

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New Delhi, Mar 14 (UNI) The Government today said there was a declining trend in the number of train accidents from 473 in 2000-01 to 234 in 2005-06 and further to 195 in 2006-07.

Stating that "safety is the prime concern of Indian Railways and all possible steps are being taken to prevent accidents", Minister of State for Railways R Velu, in a written reply, in the Rajya Sabha said the steps included timely replacement of over-aged assets, adoption of suitable technologies for upgradation and maintenance of tracks.

Safety drives and inspections were being held at regular intervals to monitor and educate staff for observance of safe practices.

He said though the definition of accident varied in different railway systems of different countries, on Indian Railways, the number of accidents per million train kilometer which was an important universally accepted safety indicator, had shown continuous reduction from 0.55 in 2001-02 to 0.44 in 2002-03, 0.41 in 2003-04, 0.29 in 2004-05, 0.28 in 2005-06 and 0.23 in 2006-07.

"During the last ten years from 1997-98 to 2006-07, 3450 people, including 1539 passengers lost their lives in 3483 consequential train accidents on Indian Railways and 58.25 per cent of these accidents were attributed to railway staff failure. Of the 3,483 consequential train accidents, 1,959 were involving passenger trains," he added.

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