Thursday, January 26, 2017

To

The Hon’ble Minister for Railways Government of India
Rail Bhawan  New Delhi – 110001.

Respected Sir,

Sub: - Safety in Railways

I am very much thankful; that you have taken the matter of safe operation of trains in the Railways seriously for which All India Loco Running Staff Association has been trying to draw the attention of Railway Board as well as Ministry of Railways since long. So far we have been suggesting various steps to be taken to avert the accidents in Railways but sorry to mention that matters have not been taken so seriously but casually and overlooked. Not only that the reports/ recommendations of various Committees constituted by the Government of India and Railways itself have neither been taken seriously nor implemented. 

Sir, you may agree that three factors are contributing to the Railway accidents i.e. Man, Material & Management failure. I feel no hesitation to mention here that at various occasions in the enquiry of different accidents only the human failure comes as prominent but not material and management failure. Enquiries are being done as against the objectives envisaged in Accident Manuals etc and normally ends with scapegoating some lower rung employees without addressing the real issues. (This very much needed to avert the accidents in Railways) The very glaring example of this can be seen in an accident that happened in Ranchi Division at TATI Station on 11th September 2016 where LP and ALP died. The Association demanded a CRS enquiry but rejected, despite of open announcement by DRM/RNC/SER on the date of accident that CRS enquiry would be held, only with one motive to hide the management and material failure. We are demanding to hold CRS enquiry in this case which is permitted in Rules too. 


For the Signal passing at Danger (SPAD) normally Loco Crew is being made responsible but never the causes behind Loco Crew failure are examined. Here it will be appropriate to refer here the research report of Sweden carolinksa University on stress and RDSO’s recommendation there upon. Further the measure of minimum punishment is removal from service could not minimize the SPAD. It only proves that this decision is wrong needs to be reviewed. Sir, if any accident takes place the Loco Crew will be the first man to die which a Loco Crew will definitely never wish. So it is a fact that no Loco Crew will do any mistake knowingly and definitely there may be other causes also. We have been continuously demanding to investigate this matter along with the cause of such failure also. Many of the enquiries have been conducted with pre-convinced mind hence the main reason for accident does not normally come out on the floor and so appropriate steps could not be taken to prevent such accidents.

Sir, the Officers at different posts should also be made accountable in accident cases in the Railways. It will certainly help to bring the level of accident to minimum if not to ‘zero’ level. We are very much thankful that you have taken it seriously. In past we have submitted many of experts report on SPAD, even from our Bangalore BGM in 2012, we resolved and suggested various steps to avert the cases of Signal passing at danger which are either due to human failure or management failure.

The Railway Board seriously discussed in a meeting of Railway Board Officers including the higher officers of the Zone on SPAD and draw a minutes. The minutes have been forwarded to all the Zones directing to act on that. But it is experienced that officers at different levels are not serious on the subject. We have been continuously demanding to implement the minutes of that meeting of 2012 on SPAD but the Railway Board never seems serious to implement their own suggestion but to drag it. In December 2016 also we met your Honour and met Hon’ble CRB and demanded to implement the suggestions given by their own officers. But we are surprised to hear from our Hon’ble Chairman Railway Board that as yet it has not become rule, even though four years have lapsed. Various things were suggested by the concerned officers in that meeting which need to be implemented very seriously if at all we want to avert the SPAD cases. We have been continuously demanding that if SPAD takes place and train stopped within the adequate distance provided for safety, without affecting the Railway property and lives, then there should be no major penalty. The prescribed measure of minimum punishment at present urgently needs to be reviewed as recommended by various expert committees.

Similarly, Railway constituted Railway Safety Review Committee (Justice Khanna Committee) in 1998 and thereafter High Level Safety Review Committee was constituted led by renowned scientist Dr. Anil Kakodkar to review the safety aspects and gave their recommendations. But their recommendations also not being taken seriously despite of our repeated request and efforts through different means.

Likewise it was the decision of the Government to constitute a judicial committee to review the HOER in 2006. But this Committee was constituted in 2011 only, without representation of judicial member and representatives of Labour Ministry. That Committee has also submitted its report but the Railway Administration is not sincere to implement it but only a causal approach is experienced. We have submitted our views on duty hours for 8 hours from Signing ON to OFF, 6 hours for Mail/ Express trains, continuous night duty not more than two nights, absence from headquarters not more than 36 hours and periodical rest for 40 hours. Railway is not taking it seriously despite of continuous demand and justification. The Railway Board is not serious to Railway safety, is reflected through RB’s letter no. E(P&A) 11 / 2010 / RS 17 dated 10.12.2016 and dated 04.11.2016. We strongly protest the above letter and demand Co-LP should be in same grade in all super-fast trains including all Duranto train also.

Sir, the Ministry of Labour is the competent authority to review the classification of Labour and to fix up the duty hours. RLC/Chennai, after having the Job evolution recommended 6 hours duty for Passenger carrying trains and those Loco Pilots were reclassified as intensive. Railway Board has appealed against this recommendation to Appellate Authority i.e. to Ministry of Labour and the same appeal has been rejected which means recommendation of RLC/ Chennai become final. This should have been implemented straight way but Railway Board has preferred an appeal to Chennai High Court which is in-fact unexpected and unfortunate.

In view of the above fact it can only be said that the Railway Administration is not very much serious about safety in train operation. The Loco Running Staff now is expecting that they will only be allowed to work according to rules and Administration should show to wards, safe 

operation in Railways. Sir, it will not be out of place to mention here that various JPOs are being issued in contravention to General Rules (GR). Even SRs are issued in contravention to GR, only for short cut working, any voice against this invites the disciplinary action against staff.

Sir, in such a situation your statement on 29.12.16 as came in the newspapers are most welcome. The statement that concerned Officers are also answerable is a welcome move. Your forceful and strong decision on the matter of growing cases of accidents in the Railways raised our hope that at least now all above referred Committee’s report which were fully neglected, will be implemented within shortest possible time including Air Conditioning (AC) of Running Rooms, AC of all Locos before coming summer and also provision of toilets in all locomotives, in the interest of safety. 

Thanking you Sir, 

                                                                                                                    Yours’ sincerely


                                                                                                                 (M. N. Prasad)

                                                                                                           Secretary General   AILRSA. 

















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