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News Entry# 288669
Dec 15 2016 (08:43)  Parliamentary panel picks holes in railway safety, wants recast of infrastructure (
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Commentary/Human Interest

News Entry# 288669     
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Posted by: rdb*^  133024 news posts
NEW DELHI: A parliamentary panel has slammed the railways over derailment of the Indore-Patna Express on November 20, which killed 149 passengers, saying that there was a "total failure" in maintaining safety standards of rail tracks.
Noting that had the railways switched over to LHB coaches, the panel said that the toll in the tragedy could have been much lower. The standing committee on railways in its latest report tabled in Parliament asked the transporter to replace conventional ICF coaches with modern LHB ones in a time-bound manner. LHB coaches are lighter and don't pile up in case of an accident.
over loss of lives due to train accidents, the panel also recommended setting up of a separate safety fund and appointing a member (safety) solely to ensure safety and security of passengers. The committee, headed by TMC MP Sudip Bandopadhaya, has asked railways to review the current structure of the railway board as well as zonal and divisional offices.
Expressing displeasure over the existing safety paraphernalia in railways in the backdrop of inter-department differences or intra-department prioritisation on safety issues, the panel has suggested that the safety infrastructure of the transporter be recast to the extent that it includes at least a separate or a full-fledged department, solely entrusted with providing safety and security across its area of jurisdiction.
The panel said that 107 rail accidents were reported during 2015-16 due to collision, derailment, fire in trains and mishaps at level crossings, thus highlighting "the need to look at the lapses of rail infrastructure."
Taking note of "under-investment" in rail sector, the committee said that it has resulted in severe congestion on over-saturated routes, affecting the speed of trains and causing accidents.
The panel found that out of a total track length of 1,14,907km, 4,500km should be renewed annually. However, out of 5,000km of track length due for renewal currently, only 2,700km were targeted to be renewed. "The target kept for track renewals are not commensurate with actual requirement on ground," it said, asking railways to enhance track renewal targets as per annual requirement.
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