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Business News/ News / India/  Odisha train accident: 2022 CAG report flagged serious concerns on rail safety

Odisha train accident: 2022 CAG report flagged serious concerns on rail safety

Criticising the govt for ignoring the Kharge recommendations, Kharge asked when CAG in its 2022 report pointed that almost seven out of 10 accidents between 2017-21 were due to train derailment, then why there was zero testing of Rail and Weld (Track Maintenance) for safety in the East Coast Railway

Odisha train accident: The railway minister said the accident happened due to a change in 'electronic interlocking' (AFP)Premium
Odisha train accident: The railway minister said the accident happened due to a change in 'electronic interlocking' (AFP)

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw Sunday said the "root cause" of the deadly train accident in Balasore of Odisha that claimed 275 lives and over 1,175 injured, has been identified and will be revealed very soon. The railway minister said the accident happened due to a change in "electronic interlocking".

Meanwhile, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has pointed out the Parliamentary Standing Committee's 323rd report which criticised the railways for the “disregard" shown by the railway board towards the recommendations of the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS).

India's top auditing body, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in a 2022 report on “Derailments in Indian Railways" held the engineering department of the Indian Railways responsible for the majority of derailments. The report attributed 422 derailments, from April 2017 to March 2021, to the department.

The report had also flagged severe shortfalls in inspections, failure to submit or accept inquiry reports after accidents, not utilising a dedicated railway fund on priority tasks, declining trend in funding track renewal, and inadequate staffing in safety operations as serious concerns.

The report pointed towards poor track maintenance, overspeeding, and mechanical failure as significant reasons for derailments

"There were shortfalls ranging from 30-100 per cent in inspections by Track Recording Cars required to assess geometrical and structural conditions of railway tracks," it said.

The report also pointed to failures in the Track Management System, which is being widely discussed after the Odisha train crash."Track Management System (TMS) is a web-based application for online monitoring of track maintenance activities. The in-built monitoring mechanism of the TMS portal was, however, not found to be operational," the report said.

The idling of track machines was noticed on account of blocks not given by the operating department (32%), blocks not planned by divisions (30%), operational problems (19%), non-availability of staff (5%) and no scope of work (3 %).

The report further said an analysis of 1,129 ‘Inquiry Reports’ of derailment accidents in 16 Zonal Railways revealed 24 factors responsible for derailments in the selected cases/accidents. The total damages/loss of assets in these cases was reported as 32.96 crore.

The major factor responsible for derailment was related to ‘maintenance of track’ (171 cases), followed by ‘deviation of track parameters beyond permissible limits’ (156 cases), the CAG report said.

The number of derailments attributable to the ‘mechanical department’ was 182. Defects in ‘wheel diameter variation and defects in coaches/wagons’ were the major contributor (37%) to the factors responsible for derailments, CAG added in its report.

The number of accidents attributable to the ‘loco pilots’ was 154. ‘Bad driving/over speeding’ was the major factor responsible for derailments, the report said.

The number of accidents attributable to the ‘operating department’ was 275. ‘Incorrect setting of points and other mistakes in shunting operations’ accounted for 84%, the CAG found.

The CAG pointed that in 63% cases, the ‘inquiry reports’ were not submitted to the accepting authority within the prescribed time schedule. In 49% cases, there was a delay in the acceptance of the reports by accepting authorities.

The report further said fire extinguishers had not been provided in 27,763 coaches (62%) in violation of extant norms.




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Updated: 04 Jun 2023, 08:27 PM IST
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