Railway safety, modernisation reports delayed

January 17th, 2012 - 6:19 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 17 (IANS) Reports of two high powered committees on railway safety and modernisation, headed by former Atomic Energy Commission chief Anil Kakodkar and National Innovation Council head Sam Pitroda respectively, have got delayed, sources said Tuesday.

Both panels were announced by Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi September 2011 and were expected to submit their reports in three months.

Sources said while the panel headed by Kakodkar has sought more time, Pitroda’s panel may submit its report next month.

They added that suggesting high-tech security for the national transporter and ways to modernise it require a lot of consultations with experts groups.

Trivedi had said the railways were aiming for “zero tolerance” safety standards akin to nuclear power plants and space technology institutions.

The safety panel, which includes Delhi Metro’s former chairman E. Sreedharan, will focus on safety audit and human resource development besides technical aspects.

Sources said the Kalka Mail accident in Uttar Pradesh in July last year, which killed 70 people, and the train collision in Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu in September 2011, in which 10 lives were lost, necessitated a “holistic assessment of safety” of the Indian Railways.

Though the railway minister aimed at “zero tolerance to safety”, sources said not much attention was paid to the Railway Safety Review Committee set up in 1998 under Justice H.R. Khanna, a retired Supreme Court judge.

Accordkng to a source, in the previous decade, the total number of average passenger and freight trains run daily on the Indian Railways’ system had increased by 30 percent from around 14,000 to almost 19,000, including over 12,000 passenger trains.

Pitroda’s panel would focus on tracks, signalling, rolling stock, stations and terminals, apart from management issues.

The committee is also expected to look into public-private partnerships (PPP) on process management, bidding and unused railway assets.

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