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Q. Lessons from railway disaster: In the backdrop of recent rail accident, disuss the issues of safety in Indian railways.
Nov 23, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-3

Ans :

Introduction-
14 bogies of the Patna-bound Indore express railway went off the track in Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh. The derailment of the Indore-Patna Express railway in Kanpur Dehat took toll of at least 146 lives and over the 200 people injured. This incident reflects India’s strained railway system can be unpredictably risky. Such accidents reduce the confidence in the system.

Issues-
  • Indian railway system is prone ton accidents due to various reasons. Though successive governments have undertaken efforts to ensure safety and to bring reforms, but these efforts were not as serious as required to address the issues. 
  • According to reports of the railways ministry an average of 50 derailments occurs a year over the past four years and it was reached peak of 63 in some years ago.
  • With respect to element of safety, railway investigation commission found that 70% of serious rail accidents were due to human errors. 
Analysis-
  • Indian railway network caters to about seven billion passenger trips a year, poses extraordinary management challenges, the most important of which is to ensure that all journeys end safely.
  • Indian Railway system lacks statutory safety authority, which would have effectively ensured the safety of passengers and rail network.
  • The accidents reduce the confidence on system hence people need an assurance from the Ministry that it is learning from its mistakes. 
  • There an need to bring the effective reforms in the railway system and it must ensure that all journey must end safely.  
Suggestions-
  • As most of the accidents occurs due to human errors, hence it most necessary that railways should impart the effective training process and should make adhere to strict operational discipline.
  • Government needs to bring bring major reforms such as, the creation of a statutory safety authority, speedy replacement of ageing coaches with modern LHB design, and revamped management that keeps its focus on core train operations.
  • Similarly railway ministry must ensure that bureaucratic procedures do not come in the way of reforms process.
Conclusion-

The recent railway accident reflects the severe risk factor that associated with the Indian railways. Indian railway system is prone to such kinds of disasters. Hence there an urgent need to bring the reforms in the Indian rail system to it must ensure the safety of passengers.


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