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Railway accidents UPSC NOTE


  • The Accident (June 17th)

  • 10 people died and over 40 injured near New Jalpaiguri.

  • A goods train hit a passenger train due to malfunctioning automatic signals.

  • Railway Board initially blamed the deceased goods train driver for disregarding rules.

Who is Really Responsible?

  • Blame on the driver is disputed due to established safety protocols.

  • An inquiry will investigate the chain of communication during the accident.

  • Historical trend suggests lower-level staff often take the fall for accidents.

  • Signal Failures are not uncommon, but trains can operate cautiously with proper procedures.

  • Inquiry will look into communication regarding the signal failure.

Would an Anti-Collision System Have Helped?

  • Yes, Kavach could have slowed the goods train and prevented the crash.

  • Slow implementation limits Kavach's effectiveness (only on 1500 km of track).

Accident Statistics:

  • Accident rate per million km is low (0.03 in 2020-22).

  • However, consequential accidents (causing injuries/deaths) are a concern (48 in 2022-23).

  • Human error is often cited as a cause, but may not be the case here (crew well-rested).

Underlying Issues:

  • Staff shortages - Indian Railways has nearly 19,000 loco pilot vacancies.

  • Lack of independent safety oversight - Kakodkar Committee recommended a dedicated body.

  • The report of the high-level safety review committee under the Chairmanship of former chairman of Atomic Energy Commission  Anil Kakodkar was submitted in February 2012.

  • Funding limitations - political considerations may prioritize profitability over safety investments.

Way Forward:

  • The Kalkodar Committee recommends Creation of a statutory Railway Safety Authority with enough powers to have a safety oversight on the operational mode of Railways

  • Open discussions in Parliament are needed to determine the future direction of Indian Railways.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Railway accidents UPSC NOTE
Railway accidents UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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