Is the Indian Railways stretched beyond its capacity?
Context: The Balasore district, Odisha train accident raised questions about safety, signaling, and overcrowding in the railway system. Challenges in Indian Railway:
- Lack of sincerity and shortcomings in inspections and maintenance: The vastness of the Indian Railways system leads to occasional lapses in safety measures, such as inadequate inspections, improper maintenance, and lack of training among staff.
- Inadequate signaling systems: Manual takeover of signaling during maintenance works can result in errors and increase the risk of accidents.
- Overcrowding in general compartments: Overcrowded coaches, particularly in general compartments, pose challenges to passenger comfort and safety.
- Overcrowding can lead to an increased risk of accidents and fatalities.
- Balancing punctuality and safety: High-density routes face pressure to maintain punctuality, which can lead to limited time for block maintenance works on tracks.
- Punctuality often takes precedence over safety in such cases.
- Strengthen safety systems through regular inspections and prompt addressing of shortcomings.
- Accelerate implementation of safety measures like the anti-collision device (KAVACH).
- Focus on track renewal and grade separation to improve safety and punctuality.
- Conduct judicial probes for major accidents to ensure impartial investigations.