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Kakodkar committee ideas back in railway agenda to ensure safety

Kakodkar committee ideas back in railway agenda to ensure safety
Focusing on zero tolerance to train accidents, Railways ministry is actively considering implementation of the recommendations of Kakodkar Committee such as elimination of level crossings, upgrading of signalling system and installation of protection warning system.

The High Level Safety Review Committee, headed by former Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar, and former managing director of Delhi Metro Rail corporation, E Sreedharan as one of its members, had recommended several measures to prevent train accidents in 2012.

However, since the Kakodkar panel was constituted by the then Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi, its report was put in cold storage after the departure of Trivedi from the ministry.

With the new Railways minister Sadananda Gowda assuming office and focusing on safety as his top priority, the ministry is back to the drawing board with Kakodkar report in hand.

‘We are examining the recommendations of the Kakodkar Committee in regard to their feasibility and implementation,’ said a senior Railways Ministry official involved with safety.

Incidentally, Gorakhdham Express accident, which claimed 28 lives, happened on 26 May, the day of swearing-in of the new government.

A detailed meeting of the Railway Board with the Safety Directorate were held on 4 and 5 June examining the whole gamut of safety aspect of train operation and causes of train mishaps. The safety meeting will be held again on 9 June. It is expected that the detailed examination of these recommendations will be completed within this month.

The committee had submitted its report in February 2012 and made various recommendations for improving railway safety which needed an outlay of Rs one lakh crore over a period of five years.

The elimination of all level crossings from the railway landscape within next five years as a measure of avoiding accidents and deaths is one of the key recommendations of the committee.

In its report, the Anil Kakodkar committee, argued that such a step would ‘not only eliminate the accidents at level crossings which account for 65 per cent of total deaths due to train accidents, but will also improve the line capacity as trains get held up at busy level crossings gates. It will also save operation and maintenance costs incurred on the gates.’ 

On the manpower gaps in the safety category in the Railways, the panel recommends time-bound filling up of vacancies in critical safety categories.

The committee made a total of 106 recommendations and the same are under examination in detail by the Railway Board.

The recommendations pertain to general safety matters, organisational structure, empowerment at working level, vacancies in critical safety category, shortage of critical safety spares, etc.
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