Rly, Delhi Jal Board caught unaware

Railway track adjoining Akshardhan temple spotted in trouble, operation of trains hit, could have caused accident


Shivani Chaturvedi | September 16, 2010

The fragile system of the railways and the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) could have triggered a great disaster last Saturday. The railway track adjoining the Akshardhan temple was in for trouble when waters from the swollen Yamuna collected along the tracks and soil on the either side started eroding.

As a result movement of several trains coming from and moving towards eastern, western and southern parts of the country remained affected. Railway sources say the tracks could have been damaged had the level of water increased a bit. The rail line could even have been washed away with soil causing a mishap.

And for this failure too the Commonwealth Games preparation has a big contribution. The pipeline with a diameter of 1,200 mm was laid down across the track to supply water to the Games Village. However, the DJB left the work incomplete. The supervising agency that is the railways did not bother to check whether the work was up to the mark.

Concrete walls were not build, manholes, sluice valves and vent pipes were not provided. Sources say the pipe ends were apparently sealed with plates for pressure test and this pipe got uplift due to entrapped air in the rising water. But in reality the ends of the casing were not fixed, therefore, due to uplift pressure of this pipe on the covering, gaps were formed around the casing.

Thus water started collecting around the pipe. This further affected soil adjoining the railway tracks. The incident could have led to closure of tracks leading to New Delhi railway station, affecting operations of Mumbai, Kolkata, Bhopal and Agra-bound trains. Moreover, about 17 lakh litre of water is supplied to New Delhi station through Ranney well near Akshardham, and this water supply could also have been affected.

The rescue operations started at around 7 pm and continued till 4 am. Sandbags were laid and other arrangements were made to check water flow. The railway officials say the water pipe has been disconnected from the particular area and Jal Board has made some alternative arrangement to supply water in the Games Village.

The incident has perhaps alerted the Northern Railway authorities. The officials are now preparing a list of all such areas where pipelines (for LPG, petroleum gas, electricity wires and cables) have been laid under railway tracks. Inspection will be done to ensure that such works have been done as per specifications, said an officer. A similar situation arose sometime back near Hindon river in Ghaziabad, where some pipeline was laid under the tracks.



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