Utkal Express tragedy: How the Kakodkar Committee recommendations are put in cold storage
The Utkal Express tragedy could have been averted, or at least minimised in terms of loss of life if the Kakodkar committee recommendations on railway safety were implemented on time. It's been 5 years since the safety aspects of Indian Railways and suggest improvements have been ignored.
As investigations begin into Saturday's train tragedy in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar district that killed 21 and injured over 150 people, conflicting claims from officials indicate that a human error may have been the cause.
Earlier, a High Level Safety Review Committee, headed by former Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar, and former managing director of Delhi Metro Rail corporation, E Sreedharan as one of its members, had recommended several measures to prevent train accidents in 2012.
However, since the Kakodkar panel was constituted by the then Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi, its report was put in cold storage after the departure of Trivedi from the ministry.
In June, Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain told Parliament that 53% of accidents are due to derailments. He also revealed that a majority of the "practical measures" suggested by the Kakodkar committee were implemented, but no headway was made on the railway safety authority.
Also, NITI Aayog has suggested the setting up of a new statutory independent outfit, the "Railway Safety Authority", to improve the safety situation of Indian railways.