The 13 lakh Indian Railways employees will soon get a platform, in the form of a website for “whistleblowers”, to directly inform top officials, including the Railway Board Chairman, of any lapses in safety, without revealing their identities.
The website, being developed by the Railways’ software arm, Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS), will allow any employee, from a trackman to an officer, to make anonymous disclosures on shortcomings in ensuring safe train operations. This may include information on an engineer cutting corners in maintenance protocol, or someone not following the regime of preventive maintenance of trains, or even something as apparently routine as a gateman sleeping on duty.
The website will be directly monitored by the Railway Ministry’s safety department, headed by Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani. “It is called universal reporting mechanism. We expect it to be up and running by March,” Lohani told The Indian Express.
Earlier, as Chairman and Managing Director of Air India, Lohani had launched a similar system in the airline. To understand how the system works and helps, Railways officials have met their Air India counterparts.
With safety being a priority area for the national transporter, officials said the new anonymous reporting system would turn every employee into the eyes and ears of the administration.
“It is possible that many of the inputs we get will turn out to be false alarms. But at least we can get things checked immediately. At least people will have the security of staying anonymous and, as a result, nobody will have the fear of being hauled up later,” said a Railways official.
Meanwhile, almost 4,000 km of overaged tracks will be renewed next fiscal and around Rs 73,000 crore will be spent in miscellaneous works aimed at enhancing safety.