The recent twin train tragedy in Harda and the failure of route relay interlocking (RRI) system in Itarsi before that have brought into sharp focus the inability of railway authorities, particularly the Bhopal rail division, to fix accountability for various mishaps.
Even two months after the Itarsi fire mishap that resulted in the failure of the RRI system – causing loss of hundred of crores to the railways and inconvenience to thousands of passengers – the railway authorities have no answer as to what led to the mishap and who all were responsible for it.
Similarly, the victims of the August 4 Harda tragedy and their kin have too many unanswered questions, and the railways has no explanation so far, said members of various committees recognised by railways.
After the Itarsi accident that paralysed train movements through Itarsi junction, a three-member committee was formed to look into the reason for the mishap but it has not submitted its report so far. The complicated RRI system, however, has been installed and made operational by now.
Former member of zonal railway users’ consultative committee (ZRUCC) Niranjan Badwani said the railway administration was shirking its responsibility.
“The seriousness of railways can be gauged from railway minster Suresh Prabhu’s statement, who termed Harda accident as a natural calamity,” he told HT, adding that the minister didn’t bother to go to the accident site.
Former member of railway amenities and railway service committee Govind Goyal said the inability of the railway administration to fix responsibility for mishaps only showed how much railway administration was serious about safety of its passengers. It has been two months but railway could not complete its probe into Itarsi mishap, he said.
“Both the mishaps are very serious and the railway administration should seriously think on how to avoid such mishaps in future instead of living in a mode of denial,” he said.
Ashok Jain, chairman of railway passengers and consumers association, said the railway officials concerned were responsible for both accidents and immediate action should have taken against them.
When contacted, general manager of West Central Railway (WCR), Ramesh Chandra said probe was on in both the mishaps and action would be taken on the basis of its findings.
June 17: A major fire broke out at RRI cabin that damaged the entire signalling system of the Itarsi railway station, one of biggest railway junctions of the country. The railway authorities had to either cancel the trains or divert through other routes. It had taken about 36 days to railway authorities to install new RRI system and made train traffic easy
August 4: Thirty-three people died and 25 injured when the Kamayani Express and the Janta Express derailed within minutes of each other crossing a bridge between Khirkia and Bhirangi railway stations. The Kamayani Express was headed to Varanasi from Mumbai, while the Janta Express was en route to Mumbai from Patna when the accident took place.