The railway accident at Khatauli, U.P., two days back causing death of many people and injury to hundreds has brought the issues of security and functioning of the Railways in to the open. Minister, Railway Board and the employees are all giving contradictory statement, starting a blame game, while the people are suffering.
The issues are serious and is concerning the lives of the people. It is very clear that the continuous governments have been ignoring the safety concerns and upgradation, repair work etc. The number of employees required as per standards are not maintained. A look in to the shortage of staff show the utter neglect of the management in this respect:
The number of railway employees have been reduced almost half during the last 40 years or so while the number of new railway lines and trains have increased, including the goods trains. A report published in ‘Deshabhimani’ daily mentions about the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways which has noted that out of the 1,04,445 Loco Pilots required to run the trains, only 83,098 are available with a vacancy of 21,347 unfilled. Many good trains are stranded due to shortage of Loco pilots. It is the same with the case of Station Masters, repair people etc.
The government is fully responsible for the continuing accidents. Immediately after an accident, a committee to inquire in the matter is appointed, but what is the report of the committee or what action is taken on the report is usually not known.
It seems that the government is completely ignoring and weakening the Railways to find justification of privatisation of this great institution for the benefit of the corporates.
A thorough inquiry in all these matters should be ordered and necessary action to save the lives of the travelers.