Reasons for Kanpur Train tragedy: Outdated coaches, overcrowding or bureaucracy?

Kanpur train derailment

New Delhi, November 21:  After shocking revelation about the insistence of Railways officials to driver for continuing the journey till Kanpur despite the threat signal raised by him at Jhansi, outdated railway coaches and overcrowded train are other prominent issues Railway Ministry needs to answer about.

Read More: Indore Patna Express Derailment could be averted; officials insisted to run the train

Read More: Kanpur train tragedy toll reaches 14

In 2015-16 Budget, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu had assured that Integrated Coach Factory (ICF) coaches would be eventually replaced by Linke Hoffman Busch (LHB) coaches. However the derailed express train on Sunday was running on outdated ICF coaches. The reason for the same has been attributed to resistance from the Railway Board.

As per the report, following the Budget promise, Railways Minster had issued an order seeking a policy to formalize a total conversion of ICF coaches into LHB coaches but the bureaucracy has been stalling it. Reportedly the Railway Board has been delaying the proposal for one year now. But failure in overhauling railways coaches is as much a failure of Railways Ministry as of the Board. It seems as if the board and the Ministry are seeking out who is responsible for the derailment.

Meanwhile the Railways Minister has said that an inquiry would be set to ascertain the cause of the mishap. “Inquiry by the Commission of Railway Safety into the accident has been ordered to determine the correct cause of accident. There shall be a separate comprehensive forensic investigation by an appropriate agency to look into every possible angle,” Prabhu said in the Lok Sabha.

But every time after such inquiries Indian Railways meet its fate. It is well established now that the Railways are over-stressed, badly in need of an overhaul, lack maintenance and in dire need of infrastructural support.

More than 140 people were killed and 200 got injured, when 14 coaches of Indore Patna Express derailed yesterday at early morning hours.

Intense industry lobbying to promote ICF coaches, risking the security of Indian Railways only suggests underlying corruption in the system. Prime Minister Modi has started demonetisation drive in the country to battle out black money and corruption. By far systematic corruption and irregularity in the compliance of administrative policies is something central government is failing to target at.

The Board reportedly had said the industry is not capable to match with the scale of production of the new coaches. Thus every year more ICF coaches were in production as compared to LHB coaches. As a result the there are too many ICF coaches. Presently we have 55,000 ICF coaches, while LHB coaches are just about 5,000-8,000.

The design of ICF coaches is not meant for speeds above 80-90 kmph. While the LHB coaches are designed for speeds upwards of 120 kmph.

The LHB coaches do not pile up in case of accidents but ICF coaches pile up and add to the loss and disaster.

Next, the number of passengers aboard the Patna-Indore Express was 150 percent of the train’s capacity. As per Railways official claim, around 1200 people were on board. But as much as 500 passengers were without ticket, with waiting list tickets or general ticket. So the train was heavily over-boarded by the passengers.

Wefornews Bureau

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