Railway Safety-Human Failure or System failure?
It is often heard that 80% accidents occur due to human failures but we hold another view that more than 80% accidents occur due to system-failure. We can prove our contention by documentary evidence and across the table discussion but the point is whether Railway Administration is serious about the dialogue and draw a road-map.
Merely issuing circulars and notifications by the Govt. is not going to serve any purpose and reduce accidents. AIRF and other like organizations need to have a serious discussion to decide who is accountable for falling safety measures in the Railways. It is a practice that administration tries to pass the luck on the employees. We hold the view that responsibility for accidents lies squarely with Ministry of Railways and Govt. of India who have not succeeded in developing Railways infrastructure in proper way even after 63 years since independence. After independence only 16000 Kms. of route has been added whereas passenger and goods traffic has increased 11 to 12 times. Manufacturing of wagons and coaches does not commensurate with our GDP growth. Also number of locomotives have not increased proportionately. Road Transport has got better deal than Rail by the Govt. There was absence of an integrated transport policy in this country for a pretty long time the curse of which had to be borne by the poor citizenry whose mode of transport is mainly Rail. Consequently Railways lagged behind. Technical modernization had added a little Phillip to Railways but the shortage of staff to tune of two lakhs has weakened the backbone of the system.
Certainly, the time has come when all should understand their liabilities for Railways and get united to make rail travel safe and secured. Govt. should arrange funds realizing the development of Railways as its own liability. Ministry of Railways should, apart from filling of the vacant posts, create posts for new works and in order to keep Rail Workers free from tension, must care of proper education of their children and their employment as well. Rail workers who are attached with operating services must avoid shortcuts and oft repeated human failure. A serious public awareness movement by the unions amongst Rail workers and Rail users will make it possible for Railways to operate safely and securely. Then only it would be possible for us to serve two crores of our daily commuters as also our goods traffic to reach its destinations properly.
(Shiva Gopal Mishra)