70 train accidents in current year: Rly Min
New Delhi: The moves initiated by Rail Minister Piyush Goyal to augment the security and safety management system in Railways has started yielding results as train accidents have come down from 135 in 2014-15 to 107 in 2015-16 and further to 104 in 2016-17.
In a reply to a question in Lok Sabha, the Rail Minister said that safety was accorded the highest priority by Indian Railways and all possible steps were undertaken on a continual basis to prevent accidents.
"It's the outcome of the continuous efforts to enhance mechanism that the number of consequential train accidents have come down to 70 as compared to 99 in the corresponding period of the previous year," the minister said.
"Security has been identified as one of the priority areas by Railways for strengthening and upgradation. Measures initiated in recent past to strengthen security include installation of CCTV cameras at railway stations/trains, operationalisation of security helpline 182, and development of security App, etc," the minister said in his reply.
"Operational measures to strengthen the security of passengers include escorting of about 4,500 important trains daily by railway's personnel, access control at important railway stations, prosecution of offenders for unauthorised vending/hawking, etc," the minister said.
Talking about recent moves, a senior official said, "In the era of Digital India, the focus is to shift from the manual method to state-of-the-art technology like the automatic track geometry-cum-video inspection system to detect defects. It is a proven technology and operational worldwide, including in Germany and Britain."
"The government has obtained eight rail grinding machines for removing minute cracks on the tracks. Track maintenance would also be assisted by deploying 40 accelerometers, designed to detect any unevenness on the rails," the official said.
"The 16 video inspection systems are set to be installed under the last coach or guard's van of Rajdhani trains, which will be recorded and sent to officials who can assess them efficiently, and take the necessary steps to fix any damages detected," the official said, adding that 12 vehicular USFD (ultrasonic flaw detection) systems would be used to analyse tracks, detecting any major safety violations that require immediate attention.
In another development, the Railways has also initiated several steps towards women empowerment and their safety. Giving a push to women empowerment, the Railways has given the charge of operation of four stations such as Matunga, Gandhinagar (Jaipur), Chandragiri (Andhra Pradesh) and Ajni (Nagpur) in the hands of women staff, while the Deccan Queen Express would be run by all women staff on Women's Day.
"Out of over 13 lakh railway workers employed in railways, there are more than one lakh women staff and the number women employees is constantly increasing," the Railways said an official statement.