Open Letter to Railway Board & Hon’ble Minister
for Railways Safety
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Role of electronic media is critical in making our public sector officials accountable and motivate them to be honest.
This is in reference to accidents that we have witnessed on Jan 2, 2010 in UP region. As citizens we are entitled to know the root cause of the train accidents. Fog conditions exist in every part of the globe, leading rail companies in the world have best technology and able to prevent accidents due to fog. Why is Indian railways behind?
WHY INDIAN RAILWAYS IS TAKING SAFETY SUBJECT LIGHTLY? ( This is the fourth or fifth accident during Mamta Banerjee’s tenure as Minister Railways) Someone in Indian Railways needs to be held accountable for not implementing TPWS and AWS Systems. Simply suspending the Loco Driver will not be an ideal solution. This accident was preventable if Indian Railways had implemented TPWS and AWS System ( Train Protection Warning Systems and Automatic Warning System) in the trains. TPWS is a great technology and has been in Europe, America and other parts of Asia.
1. R&D : Indian Railways has invested crores of rupees in RDSO organization with limited return on investment. We do agree that indigenous build products are important from the perspective of self reliance and encouraging innovation. As a tax payer and proud Indian citizen we are entitled to know how does RDSO come about making business case for new product development. What mechanisms are there to monitor the project. We very much doubt that Indian Railways follows sound project management processes or track vendor’s progress.
2. Training : Indian Railways should expose mid level managers to best practices of global railway organizations for example Labour Management Practices, Project Management Practices, Effective Leadership techniques, Communication and Negotiation with vendors.
3. Safety and Modernization : Hon’ble minister should divert her energy from running populist political agenda for example cheap food, reducing the price of the rail fare etc.. The time has come to modernize the aging infrastructure – rail signaling systems, Solid State Interlocking Application, ERTMS, ETCS, GSM-R and track management and engineering. Seriously look at CENELC, SIL4, GSM-4 standards for improving signaling Systems and infrastructure.
4. Salary and Benefits : Indian Railways Officials are losing experienced signaling engineers and managers to private sector. Improving the compensation structure could encourage and motivate young engineers to continue with Indian Railways. Hon’ble Minister and Members of Railway Board should look at this subject seriously.
5. Security and Surveillance : Indian Railway Protection Force lacks modern technology in growing security threats we face. We need to seriously upgrade security apparatus, equip security personnel with modern weapons, grow the bomb squad force, implement modern surveillance devices and equipments.
According to RTI Act, we are entitled to know what steps and investments are being made by Indian Railways to make rail travel safe. Fog conditions exist all over the world. In UK fog is common, train services still run but slowly and Network Rail , UK has necessary technology which is TPS and AWS to prevent train collisions.
Hon’ble Minister, we request you to dedicate next rail budget on rail safety, modernizing infrastructure and security. We elected you to transform Indian Railways and we certainly deserve the best.