New Delhi, Jan 22: Raising concerns over the rail safety, a senior government official today said that Railway Ministry needs to prepare a comprehensive action plan for safety measures. The official suggested that there should a mechanism for frequent check-up of railway tracks, recruit of gangmen and regular safety audits of railways.
"Technology can't be the only solution. We don't have substitute for manual inspection...We are running too many trains on certain busy routes like Mughalsarai section, leaving no time for manual inspection of track," the official said. The official's comment assume significance against the backdrop of tragic derailment of Indore-Patna Express near Kanpur on November 20 last year, and derailment of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh today. He further said there is no point in hiring more Railway Protection Force(RPF) for safety.
"We need in-fact need more gangmen who can manually inspect the railways tracks," the official noted. The official further said that the weekly Monday meeting of Railways Board which has been discontinued for more than last one year should be restored.
"Also, the practice of driving the train fast in the night to make up for delay should be discontinued as it sometimes results in accidents," he said. The official further noted that the railways need to speed up replacement old (Integral Coach Factory-designed coaches) bogies with German Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches with advanced safety features.
The LHB coaches, equipped with advanced couplers and anti-climbing features, prevent capsizing of coaches in case of accident. This helps to minimise damage and reduce the loss of lives because the LHB bogies do not get toppled due to its modern design. Several expert committees have termed the ICF coaches as safety risks. LHB coaches, which has been designed for speed upwards 120 kmph, are fuel efficient and have a longer life span, while the ICF coaches are not meant for speed above 80-90 kmph.