Thursday, January 14, 2016

BENGALURU: A combination of human errors by three parties had resulted in the Bengaluru-Ernakulam Intercity Express derailment near Anekal that resulted in the death of nine persons and left 42 injured, a statutory inquiry has established. A top engineer could face the axe while others face lesser punishment.

Commissioner of Rail Safety (CRS) Satish Kumar Mittal, in a final report submitted to the Railways on the February 13, 2015 mishap to Train no. 12677 over two months ago (which is yet to be made public), has held the Senior Section Engineer (SSE) of Hosur, Ravinder Rao, the Loco-Pilot (LP) A T Fernandes and the Integral Coach Factory at Perambur collectively responsible, according to top railway officials.

Speaking to Express, a top official said that disciplinary authorities from the Railways have filed a 'Major Penalty Chargesheet' against the SSE while a minor penalty chargesheet has been filed against the LP and the Perambur factory.

The SSE has been held heavily responsible because a rail fracture had occurred a few feet away from the accident spot on the same track a day ago.

"The fracture was set right but ideally, trains should be permitted to run at slow speed only for a couple of days at least in the aftermath of any rail track issue. The Engineer permitted trains to run at slow speed for some hours but permitted regular speed within 24 hours of the fracture detection," he added.

The ill-fated train was running below 80 kmph only though the regular permissible speed is 100 kmph along the track. "However, the SSE should not have allowed it to run even at that speed due to the incident on February 12. Hence he is guilty of negligence," the official said. 

The driver has been held culpable as his reaction time was not faster, the official added.

The body of coach D9 pierced into D8 causing the tragedy, the official said. "The vital part of the coaches, the underframes were old and corroded. This caused a quicker collapse of the coaches resulting in higher casualties and injuries. The frame should have been strengthened," he added. Hence, the Rail Coach Factory at Perambur has been held responsible by the report.

Future Course

Elaborating on the action that would be taken against them, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Bengaluru Division, Sanjiv Agarwal said different Enquiry Officers have been set up in the month of December to give those held guilty a chance to explain their stand and recommend appropriate action against them. "A major penalty chargesheet is a very serious issue in a government department. The person is likely to face demotion or even removal from service," Agarwal said.

In the case of minor chargesheet, increments are withheld and paid cumulatively or the individual is censored, Agarwal said. 

"It will take between two to three months for the Enquiry Officer to recommend the appropriate punishment," he added.


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