Cong highlights Railway Board member’s letter, asks if CBI will probe it too
Even as the CBI is probing the Balasore triple train accident, Congress on Wednesday raised questions on five cases highlighted in a letter by a Railway Board member and asked whether the agency will probe this too.
New Delhi: Even as the CBI is probing the Balasore triple train accident, Congress on Wednesday raised questions on five cases highlighted in a letter by a Railway Board member and asked whether the agency will probe this too.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh highlighted the letter of R.N. Sundae, Member Infrastructure of the Railway Board written to General Managers on April 3 this year.
In a tweet he said, “As the CBI investigates the Balasore train disaster will it also inquire why this letter was written and what follow up action was taken?”
The letter by the Railway Board Member highlighted “five incidences on the unsafe side involving points that have taken place on various Zonal Railways”.
The letter to General Managers by Sundar dubbed the incidences as “alarming and an issue of serious concern”.
“The signalling gears were reconnected by S&T staff without proper testing of points after blocks for switch or turnout replacement, wrong wiring during preparatory works, attending signal failures etc., such practices reflect dilution of manual and codal provisions. Same are potential hazards to safety in train operations and need to be stopped,” the letter read.
He said that above incidents indicate that despite repeated instructions from the Railway Board, “ground situation is not improving” and “signaling staff are continuing to adopt short cut methods for clearing signals without checking correspondence from site” and without proper exchange of disconnection or re-connection memo, with operating staff.
“Joint works with engineering staff, signal maintenance and other repair works requiring disconnection contained in IRSEM should indicate time duration catering provisions for testing signaling gears after completion of engineering works in case of joint activities. The gears should be reconnected only after proper testing to ascertain safe certification of signaling system,” the letter read.
“Needless to mention that a large number of infrastructure works are under progress with stringent targets requiring involvement of open line officials and staff at every stage for timely commissioning of works, however, officers and staff in field need to be sensitized to ensure integrity of signaling system being of utmost importance from safety point of view. These aspects need to be reviewed in weekly safety meetings at divisional and headquarter level,” the letter added.
The Member Infrastructure also highlighted five incidents involving several trains from January to March this year.
The first incident was reported on January 23 in Lucknow related to Train No. 22454 which was signalled for reception to NER entering into the washing line area.
It said that due to multiple cable cuts by construction excavators, correspondence of enroute point 411a/b after rectification of cables was not tested and reconnection given to take off home signal.
The second incident was reported on February 8 at Hosadurga Station where route was set for train number 12649 from common loop to Up main line requiring points 64 and 65 in Reverse but the driver observed point 65 in Normal at site.
“Short cut adopted by Signal maintainer during attending failure of BPAC,” the letter said.
Similarly, a third incident was reported on February 18 at Ludhiana Railway station power of train number 22480 derailed on point 286 in reverse during signalled movement.
“Preliminary information reveals point reconnected without ensuring proper housing in reverse after TRR work,” the letter said.
Fourth incident was reported on February 28 at Kharkopar Railway station where Dn Line Local signalled a straight route for reception to PF-1 derailed while passing over emergency X-over 101.
“Preliminary information reveals wrong wiring done in the relay room during preparatory work for commissioning of the Auto section,” it pointed out.
Last incident was reported on March 22 at the Bagratawa railway station where a goods train signalled for dispatch from Up main line traversed to Dn main line through emergency X-over (101a/b).
“Point was reconnected by S&T staff without proper testing after a traffic block for replacement of T/O by TWS,” it said.
The Congress and other opposition parties have slammed the Centre over the Balasore train accident in which 288 people died and over 1,000 were injured.
Opposition has been demanding the resignation of the railway minister.
Vaishnaw had transferred the probe of Balasore train accident to the CBI. Vaishnaw also said that the accident happened due to a change in electronic interlocking.