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Sub-standard work makes rail journeys unsafe: CAG report

The reports points out that the contractors responsible for doing the job did not meet required standards jeopardising life and safety of passengers

The national auditor highlighted that a stable and strong formation is essential for the safety of track and safe running of trains but unfortunately the mandatory ‘parameters’ in most of the lines were not followed, which might led to scams, which need to be investigated.

“As per RDSO report, the compaction of earth was not as per the specification in terms of degree of compaction. Since no beam has been provided for banks of more than six meters height, slope stability of embankment would need to be re-checked before the opening of railway line for traffic.
Also, blanketing material utilized was not as per RDSO’s specification and had more granules as per the norms,” CAG report reads.

Research, Design and Standard Organisation (RDSO), Lucknow, is the technical advisor to Railway Board and Zonal Railways in providing technical support. When the construction of a railway line is complete followed by RDSO’s approval, it is then inspected by the Commissioner Railway Safety (CSR) to obtain green signal for the opening of line passenger traffic.

However, for instance, the board gauge line between Kottur-Harihar was found to have a number of flaws in terms of safety. CAG claimed that 11 contracts were given for the construction in 2009 and after its completion several violation of railway safety norms were found.

“Surprisingly, several cracks were found on the tracks, which could have led to a major train disaster if not rectified. It is unfortunate that despite several flaws pointed by RDSO, the contractors were entertained and allowed to continue the work of spreading of ballast and linking of track,” sources in the department said.

The national auditor further says, “Though a penalty of Rs 2.36 crore was imposed on the contractors, it did not rectify the flaws as per Railway standard. The track has been left with inherent and major deficiencies and commissioning of new lines with a cost of Rs 351.48 Crore, without rectifying the major deficiencies and opening it for regular traffic, was a bizarre example of compromising the safe operation of trains and safety of passengers.”

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