Governance Now Masterminds

Railways filled only 0.89% safety vacancies in four years

The railways had 1.291 lakh vacancies of safety staff in 2014 which has come down to 1.289 lakh in 2017. It seems the railways has not taken any lessons from the past

vishwas

Vishwas Dass | February 15, 2018 | New Delhi


#Passengers Safety   #Train Derailment   #Safety   #Piyush Goyal   #Railways   #Indian Railways  
Photo: Arun Kumar
Photo: Arun Kumar

After every major accident Indian Railways claims that it would intensify efforts to fill safety category vacancies to reduce the count of fatal accidents.

But data shows something else and reveals railways’ callousness towards recruiting more manpower to ensure accidents free journey.

The railways want to eliminate 4,943 unmanned level crossings in the next three years. A huge number of people get killed at accidents at unmanned level crossings.

Safety staff is highly needed to execute crucial works like manning of level crossings, construction of road over and under bridges, track maintenance and renewal work. However, despite all claims, the railways has filled only 0.89 per cent safety category vacancies in the last four years since April 2014.

MoS, railways, Rajen Gohain revealed in the Lok Sabha that railways is staring at a major challenge of filling 1,28,942 safety category posts. The sanctioned strength of safety stood at 7,64,882 till April 2017.

According to the ministry, there were 17.75 per cent vacancies till April 2014 which came down to 16.85 per cent in 2015, 16.44 per cent in 2016 and 16.86 per cent as on April 2017.

There were 1,29,152 vacancies in 2014 against the sanctioned strength of 7.27 lakh which came down to 1,28,942 against the sanctioned strength of 7.64 lakh in April 2017.

The safety issue which has become a matter of ‘utmost’ concern for the railways has time and again put the national transporter on the tenterhooks.

The two accidents— Puri-Haridwar Utkal express on August 19 and Kaifiyat express on August 23 in 2017 literally compelled the railways to sack its chairman of the railway board which was serving his extended tenure while railways minister Suresh Prabhu volunteered to call it a day. The railways had sent three senior officials on leave after the traffic Puri-Haridwar Utkal express derailment, killing 23 people.

When Piyush Goyal took the charge of the railways ministry, he too, laid emphasis on improving safety and modernising the railways.

The railways’ track record of safety is very poor. In the past three years over 300 passengers were killed in 200 incidents of derailments. This includes deaths of 145 passengers in derailment at Pukhrayan in Uttar Pradesh. Yet nothing changed in the railways including the seemingly poor safety standards. The railway board failed to adopt modern technology, boost LHB coach production and unveil a comprehensive safety strategy.

Although the railways has stopped producing conventional coaches and start focusing on German technology LHB carriages which does not topple on each other if they get derailed, improvement of safety remains a major challenge for the railways.

 List of sanctioned strength and vacancies of safety categories across all 17 zonal railways:

As on Sanctioned Strength Vacancies % of Vacancies
01.04.2014 727582 129152 17.75
01.04.2015 737273 124201 16.85
01.04.2016 746676 122763 16.44
01.04.2017 764882 128942 16.86

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