Mamata wants CBI probe into Mathura train accident
New Delhi (DNA): The real reason behind the collision between Mewad Express and Goa Express, that killed 22 people in Mathura on Wednesday, remain a mystery. Did policemen pull the chain because a convict was trying to escape or was the driver too fatigued to notice the signal?
Railways minister Mamata Banerjee will ask for a CBI inquiry into the Mathura accident. "Realising the gravity of the accident, I have decided it is better to go for a CBI probe," Banerjee said during a visit to the site.
"Many questions have cropped up. Somebody said that chain-pulling was the reason for the accident and others say there was a problem in the signal. It may be a case of criminal offence too. So, I have handed over the case to the CBI," she said. The commissioner of railway safety will also investigate the matter.
Banerjee also ordered the transfer of Agra divisional railway manager(DRM) and sent two technical officers on leave.The decision was taken after Banerjee chaired a safety review meeting with railway board officials.
DRM RD Tripathi was transferred with immediate effect and the dean of Indian Railway Institute of Transport Management, Lucknow, Devesh Kumar Mishra posted in his place.
Railways transferred Agra DRM after Mathura train accident
The Railway Board today transferred Mr R D Tripathi, the Divisional Railway Manager of the Agra Division of the North-Central Railway, in the backdrop of the major train accident near Mathura yesterday.
As many as 22 people were killed and 26 others injured in the mishap in which the Delhi-bound Goa Express rammed into the stationary Udaipur-Nizamuddin Mewad Express between Mathura and Vrindavan stations of the Agra Division early yesterday morning.
An official press release said Mr Devesh Kumar Mishra, Dean of the Indian Railways Institute of Transport Management (IRITM), had been posted in his place with immediate effect.
In addition, the Senior Divisional Signal and Telecom Engineer (Sr. DSTE), Agra Division, and the Senior Divisional Electrical Enginner-Operation (Sr. DEE), Jhansi Division have also been asked to proceed on leave, the release said.
Meanwhile, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee reviewed safety measures on the Indian Railways with the entire Railway Board here today.
According to the release, she categorically stated that the safety of the passengers should continue to be given the highest priority. She said there should be no compromise on this and any laxity would not be tolerated.
Ms Banerjee said anyone found wanting on this vital aspect of railway operations would not be spared and stern action would be taken against those playing with the lives of passengers.
She directed the Railway Board to closely monitor all spheres of railway operations connected with safety and conduct periodical reviews of this aspect, the release added.
'Officers are derailing train safety'
The Mathura accident, and many others over the past decade, could have been avoided had trains in India been fitted with indigenous anti-collision device (ACD).
But officials in the railway ministry have been sitting over the implementation of the ACD project for the past 10 years even as hundreds of lives have been lost.
The father of the indigenous ACD project and former MD of the Konkan Railway, B. Rajaram, on Wednesday shot off a letter to railway minister Mamata Banerjee, urging her to implement the system at the earliest.
Certain bureaucrats in the ministry, Rajaram alleged, have been holding back a fullscale implementation of the indigenous ACD to benefit foreign companies that want to capture the Rs 3,000-crore worth market for accident prevention systems in India.
"I truly feel sad and angry for our failure to protect lives, even when we have developed and proven to international standards - as certified both by the (Lucknow-based) Research Design and Standards Organisation and Lloyds, UK - our own ACD to prevent such collisions," Rajaram wrote in the letter.
Talking to Mail Today, he said: "MNCs are threatened by our product which is more accurate than many of their systems. But they have friends in the railway ministry. That is why the project is getting delayed." Rajaram had alerted the ministry on the efforts made by some MNCs to enter into a collaboration with the Indian Railways for developing the ACD. The indigenous ACD has been working with 99.9 per cent efficiency in the Konkan Railway.
Incidentally, Mamata was the railway minister when the prototype of the system was first tested at Goa in 1999.
She had travelled on the loco engine fitted with the experimental prototype and had overlooked the Railway Board to approve the implementation of the system in Konkan Railway in January 2000.
In 2004, the Railway Board told the parliamentary standing committee on railways that the ACD technology was working well and would be extended to other parts of the country.
The railways in 2007 announced a pilot project to fit ACDs in trains on 1,736 kilometres of broad gauge route of the Northeast Frontier railway zone.
Rajaram alleged that the ministry selected this zone to prove that the technology would not sustain in adverse environmental conditions.
"The ministry chose such adverse conditions, which is not done when it is an imported technology. But against all odds, the indigenous technology stood the test and came out with flying colours," he said.
"Some people on the (Railway) Board and in the ministry seem to be anxious to help foreign companies... May I request you to intervene and allow Indian technology, proven beyond doubts, to be implemented, at least on the three zonal railways forthwith as already sanctioned," the retired top railway engineer said in his letter to Mamata.
Courtesy: Mail Today