Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal already told that this budget will give priority to Railway Safety.
1. High Level Safety Review Committee Report:
High Level Safety Review Committee headed by Dr. Anil Kakodkar submitted their report on 17.02.2012. Among their recommendation comes around 160 pages.(Minister announced that some of the suggestions are started implementing). A few are given below:

 “The Committee, therefore, has recommended total elimination of all level crossings (manned and unmanned) within 5 years at an estimated cost of Rs. 50,000 crores which will get recovered over 7-8  years  due  to  saving  in  operation  and  maintenance  costs  and improved train operation.”
(Unmanned LC’s are death traps for innocent road users. Closure of all unmanned LC should be given top priority. Without closure of Level Crossing gates train speed cannot be increased and Bullet train or such trains cannot be run. Minister announced closure of 10797 gates which is welcomed.)
“2.11.1 Severe shortage of manpower in safety categories such as supervisors and technicians under various departments, ASMs, Loco Pilots etc.  was universally  reported  in  almost  all  interactions.  The complaint gets substantiated by the position shown in Table 5.
2.11.2  Some  kind  of  helplessness  was  expressed  in  filling  up  the  existing vacancies due to inordinate delay by Railway Recruitment Boards which have been entrusted with direct recruitment of railway supervisors and staff. Such staff shortage on the existing sanctions is adversely hampering the maintenance of assets affecting safety. That the Committee recommends that all the vacancies of supervisors and staff in safety category are filled up in a time bound manner say within 6 months by leveraging IT based recruitment systems..”
But unfortunately Railway has kept this report in cold storage.
2. SPAD Committee minutes:
After repeated accidents and cases of Signal Passing At Danger(SPAD) railway board conducted a meeting on 12.06.2012 and circulated the minutes contains 58 directives to all General Managers to implement. But as like many reports this also in RED TAPE. For implementing these directives additional financial expenditure will be there. We request Hon Railway Minister to keep necessary allocation for this purpose.
3. Staff Strength:
During 1990s there were 16.5 lakhs employees and 8000 officers in railways. Now when the number of officers has gone up to 18000 and the numbers of workers has decreased to 13.5 lakhs, and out of which2.5 lakhs posts are kept vacant. In the loco running cadre itself there are 17119 (83323/66204 as on 01/04/2011) 20.55% vacancies. Around 7 lakh permanent jobs are being out sourced to contract labours. All these have badly affected the safety of passengers and effective functioning of railways resulting in reducing its ability to give prompt and affordable service to the public.
All the vacancies to be filled up in group C and D and the number of officers to be RIGHT SIZED.
Minister announced that 1.25 lack vacancies will be filled up, but he is silent about Vacancies in safety categories which is directly affecting safety.
AILRSA welcomes the announcement of Minister that the Train engines will be Air Conditioned.


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