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After rail mishaps, Suresh Prabhu pulls up GMs over safety

Since April, as many as 54 accidents, including 29 derailments, have been reported.

Written by Raghvendra Rao | New Delhi | Updated: September 16, 2015 6:17 am
suresh prabhu, railway, indian railways, railway accident, india rail accident, train accident, india train accident, auresh prabhu meeting, auresh prabhu railway gm meeting, india news, indian express Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu did not hide his annoyance over the high number of rail accidents when he addressed the GMs at a day-long conference — a closed-door meeting — at Rail Bhavan.

IRKED OVER the recent rail accidents, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu Tuesday pulled up the general managers (GMs) — officials in charge of running operations in the 17 railway zones — telling them that he would not listen to any excuses on the safety front. He also gave them a six-month deadline to take appropriate action.

Since April, as many as 54 accidents, including 29 derailments, have been reported. The minister did not hide his annoyance over this when he addressed the GMs at a day-long conference — a closed-door meeting — at Rail Bhavan.

Watch video: After Rail Mishaps, Prabhu Pulls Up GMs Over Rail Safety

“The minister told the GMs that the time for excuses was over and it was time senior officials like GMs owned responsibility,” said a ministry source. Prabhu, sources said, told the GMs that it was unfortunate that he had to call a meeting of such senior officials to discuss a basic issue like safety. He told them that they were the professionals running the system and were the ones who had developed the system so they should not be waiting for a minister — who’s a politician essentially — to tell them how to run trains, a source said.

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He said that the Railways did not appear to be learning from experience. He also ordered the GMs to conduct safety audits within their respective zones and asked them to submit weekly reports. “The minister has also said that zonal railways would be tasked with conducting safety audits of their neighbouring zones so that more fair and objective safety assessments can be arrived at,” a source said.

Reminding that he had delegated and decentralised powers at the level of general managers and divisional railway managers, Prabhu underscored that “with this empowerment should come greater responsibility and accountability”.

Significantly, at the time Prabhu was making his remarks, news of another rail accident — this time involving a local suburban train derailing in Mumbai-started trickling in. As soon as Prabhu made his way out of the conference and was informed about the latest accident, he expressed exasperation.

Meanwhile, Railway Board chairman A K Mital Tuesday said that the ministry was finalising a comprehensive safety plan at an estimated cost of about Rs 1 lakh crore and would soon approach the Finance Ministry to set up a special safety fund. This plan, he said, would work towards eliminating all level crossings and strengthening tracks and bridges.

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  1. B
    Sep 16, 2015 at 9:39 am
    The responsible GMS and other officers should be sacked immediately. Unless there is fear, they will not function properly because selfishness has been in their habits.
    1. C
      Chanchal Kumar
      Sep 16, 2015 at 1:41 pm
      The condition of Indian Railway is miserable, it seems that the controlling authority has lost its control towards the system.Strong action must be taken against the culprit of these accidents.Still, we are hopeful that Honourable Railway Minister would perform better.
      1. J
        j s
        Sep 16, 2015 at 5:06 pm
        Rather than showing Blue Train Dreams focus on improvement whatever is existing-Jarnail Singh Dhillon
        1. Haridas Rao
          Sep 16, 2015 at 6:57 am
          Every time there are Rail accidents and the question of Rail safety is raised by the Minister,the Public and the Media the Railway Board and the GM's come up with a stock response : We are making a Special safety scheme costing a few odd thousands of crores and we are sending it to the Finance Ministry for sanction.Whether the scheme actually fructifies or not is besides the point. Only if drastic action is taken against the Chairman,the GM and DRM will things start to improve.
          1. M
            Sep 16, 2015 at 6:12 pm
            I congradulate the railway minister for taking a bold decidsion in making GM's responsible for accidents and hope this will ahve its own effect. he should also make the concerned divisional managers to make them responsible for penger amenities deficiency and way to improve them.
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