Sunday, September 18, 2011

THE HINDU, NEW DELHI, September 17, 2011

Kakodkar heads Railway safety panel
In the wake of the 57 rail accidents witnessed this year, including the recent one near Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu, the Railway Ministry has set up a high-level safety review committee, headed by the former Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Anil Kakodkar, to give views and suggestions on the functioning of the existing “systems and protocols.”
The five-member committee, with Delhi Metro MD E. Sreedharan as its Adviser, would go into the signalling systems, rolling stock, fixed structures (tracks, bridges and overhead equipment), human resource development, with emphasis on training, education and research, the need for a third party audit, and organisational and structural changes in the rail research establishments.
Speaking to journalists here on Friday, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi said the committee would consist of experts in technical and high-end-technology-related fields and its other members were N. Vedachalam of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Sanjay Dhande, director, IIT- Kanpur and G.P. Srivastava, Director E&I Group, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.
Mr. Trivedi claimed that the Railway' safety record had improved considerably — with the number of train accidents having come down to 141 in 2010-11 from the 2,000 accidents witnessed in 1960-61. Between April 1-September 15, 57 accidents had been reported compared to 65 accidents in the same period last year.

(However, the minister's choice of panel members has been trashed by Railway Board's former members and top serving officials who called it "another knee-jerk reaction" in complete ignorance of the ground realities of railway operations. From INDIA TODAY)


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