5 Years on, Kakodkar Committee's Rail Safety Recommendations Gather Dust
The Ministry of Railways in 2012 appointed Anil Kakodkar to head a high-level review committee to examine the safety aspects of Indian Railways and suggest improvements.
First images of Utkal Express which derailed in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar. (CNN-News18 photo)
New Delhi: Five years on, the Kakodkar committee recommendations on railway safety are yet to be implemented in any meaningful way. If they were, perhaps horrific rail accidents like the one in Muzaffarnagar on Saturday could be avoided.
At least 20 people were killed and 34 sustained injuries when 13 bogies of the Utkal Express, which runs on the Puri-Haridwar-Kalinga route, derailed on Saturday evening.
The Ministry of Railways in 2012 appointed Anil Kakodkar to head a high-level review committee to examine the safety aspects of Indian Railways and suggest improvements. Among the recommendations were investing Rs 1 lakh crore over a 5-year period and the creation of a statutory railway safety authority.
However, the safety authority is yet to be created, despite mounting evidence that the Railway Board is seriously overburdened. In June, Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain told Parliament that 53% of accidents are due to derailments. He also revealed that a majority of the “practical measures” suggested by the Kakodkar committee were implemented, but no headway was made on the railway safety authority.
"There is no decision to create a railway safety authority. An independent institution namely the Commission of Railway Safety already functions under the Ministry of Civil Aviation. It discharges the functions of review/approval of safety aspects in railways independently," Gohain said.
Quoting a report by the NITI Aayog, the minister had informed Lok Sabha that in last five years (2012-13 to 2016-17) out of a total of 1,011 casualties, 347 occurred due to derailments.
He said out of a total of 586 accidents, 308 were due to derailments, 21 occurred on Manned Level Crossings (MLCs) and 199 on Unmanned Level Crossings (UMLCs).
The total number of those injured in the said period were 1,634. As many as 944 were injured in derailments.
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