Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Railways using old techniques to issue fog warning
Marya Shakil / CNN-IBN

New Delhi: Four train drivers have been suspended because of the accidents that took place in Kanpur and Etawah on January 2 in which at least 10 people were killed and over 40 injured.
The train accidents reportedly took place due to heavy fog due, low visibility and human error. The accidents have raised serious concerns on railway safety.
During fog conditions trains must stick to the speed limit of 30 km per hour and in the dense fog eight km per hour.
Railway officials say most accidents are due to the failure of their own staff. But of the 177 accidents that occurred in 2008-2009, less than half were due to human error.
The truth is the railways are still using outdated techniques like detonators to warn the train drivers during fog.
When the train passes over them the driver gets a warning to slow down. Another technique is for train drivers blow the horn ahead of crossings to warn road users.
"If anti-collision devices are installed on all the trains and at all the stations then you need not have to depend on the human element," claims former chairman of Railway Board SB Ghosh Dastidar.
The anti-collision device has only been fixed over 1,736 route kms of the North Frontier Railway.
Rauilway Minister Mamata Banerjee says 1700 kms more will be covered, but financial issues are holding that up.
Indian Railways say that anti-collision device is not fit to be implemented in all terrains.
Shockingly the 10-year old project is still undergoing technical evaluation even as accidents continue to rise.
With outdated techniques of dealing with fog, the lifeline of the country is surely Ram bharose (in God's hands).


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