Govt Body Probing Odisha 3-Train Crash Says Action-Taken Reports on 15 Accidents Pending from Railways

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The crash last Friday involving two passenger trains and a goods train killed over 270 people. (File pic/AP)

The crash last Friday involving two passenger trains and a goods train killed over 270 people. (File pic/AP)

After every train accident, the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) conducts an inquiry and based on that it makes certain recommendations. The railway ministry has to submit an action-taken report, although there is no fixed timeline for that. Among the at least 15 ATRs pending with the Railway Board, the oldest is from 2013-14

Action-taken reports on at least 15 accident inquiries with 135 recommendations submitted by the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) are still pending with the Railway Board and the oldest among these is from the year 2013-14, documents seen by News18 show.

After every train accident, the CRS conducts an inquiry, and based on that it makes certain recommendations. The railway ministry has to submit an action-taken report, although there is no fixed timeline for that.

The documents, dated November 1, 2022, say that there is always some backlog in the receipt of action-taken reports from the rail ministry.

“At the end of 2021-22, 14 action taken reports from the Ministry of Railway was received and response was awaited on balance fifteen reports. The oldest such inquiry report is of an accident which occurred in the year 2013-14 which is long overdue,” the CRS document reads.

The body also said that these issues of non-reporting of action-taken reports or the status of the recommendations to the commission have been raised regularly during coordination meetings.

“There is generally delay in communication of action taken reports by the Ministry of Railways on the recommendation made by CRS in their inquiry reports. The report of the oldest accident of 2013-14 was submitted to the Railway Board in December 2014. However, the same is still pending,” the CRS added.

Out of the 15 action-taken reports pending, one each is from the years 2013-14 and 2014-15 while two each are for the years 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2020-21. Three reports from 2016-17 and four from 2019-20 are also pending.

For 2021-22, two mishap inquiries were entrusted to the commissioners and their final reports are in the process of completion.

What railway officials say

Speaking to News18, a ministry official said implementing major changes takes some time and they are considering all the suggestions and recommendations.

“We need to understand that the Indian Railway has a vast network and any major change will take time. Also, implementing provisions related to the safety of train operations requires deliberation at various levels, which may take some time,” the official said, seeking anonymity.

Rising graph of passenger train derailments cause of concern

The CRS had warned the Railways that the trend of accidents in the network shows a decline but the rising graph of passenger-carrying train derailments is a cause of concern.

“The Commission of Railway Safety has communicated to the Ministry of Railways certain focus areas which require urgent attention to improve overall health of Railway safety. These include replacement of over-aged assets, elimination of manned level crossings, adoption of suitable technologies for up-gradation and maintenance of track, rolling stock, signaling and interlocking systems,” the CRS said.

They also recommended safety drives, greater emphasis on training of officials, and inspections at regular intervals to monitor and educate staff for observance of safe practices.

On June 2, a train accident took place in Odisha that killed over 270 people. On June 7, the CRS started its inquiry into the crash that impacted three trains, and the exact cause of this mishap is still being deduced.

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