Minister of Railways and Coal, Piyush Goyal held a marathon meeting with members of full Railway Board & Safety Directorate of Railway Board to comprehensively review Safety measures for train operations. A detailed presentation on Safety was made at the meeting. There was threadbare discussion on the subject and the root cause of repeated cases of train accidents in recent past was thoroughly analysed. In the meeting, the Minister emphasised that the safety is paramount and there cannot & should not be any compromise on this front.
Two major causes leading to accidents were identified as:
- Unmanned Level Crossings accounted for 34% of accidents in 2016-17.
- Derailments due to defects in tracks.
The special focus of the meeting was to identify measures to reduce accidents due to derailments which have emerged as one of the major causes of Train accidents. Minister of Railways gave following directions to the Railway Board to ensure Safety:
- All unmanned level crossings should be eliminated expeditiously on the entire Indian Railway network in a year’s time from now. The earlier target was to eliminate these in 3 years but by using Transformative mantra of “Speed, Skill and Scale”this target has been expedited to less than 1 year now.
- Track Replacement/renewal should be accorded Priority & the tracks (rails) earmarked for use for constructing new lines should be diverted to places/ stretches which are prone to accidents & where replacement is due.
- The procurement of new rails should be expedited on a large scale with a view to complete construction of new lines in time.
- The manufacturing of conventional ICF design coaches should be stopped forthwith & new design LHB coaches only should be manufactured.
- Anti-Fog LED lights should be installed in Locomotives so that unhindered safe train operations can be ensured during fog season.
The Minister directed the Railway Board to monitor implementations of this action plan on a regular basis.