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Wake up call for the Railways


At a juncture when we were witnessing a transformation of our railway system one of the deadliest Railway accidents is a wake up call.

It is time not for political pot shots but to look at answers as railways is the life line of the country and as a journalist I have covered railways and realise the importance of Railways for any government as it impacts people directly.

It is ironical that the accident happened even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made a personal pitch to boost the morale of the Railway officers in a first of its kind conclave.

I am not one of those who would use this accident to derail the ambitious plans of a bullet train, faster trains, swanky stations but if we don’t address the elephant in the room the safety and maintenance in the railways we will not be able to reassure the millions who travel by our Railway system every day.


The problem is this any railway system cannot forget its basics – safety and security.

However in an age of social media for some time, Railway Managers are busy in cosmetic aesthetics – good looking paint, non-systemic one-off acts and then spend hours on Facebook and twitter publicizing these acts, hoping that this will get the attention of the Prime Minister and the Railway Minister.

ALSO READ: Patna-Indore Express derailment LIVE Updates: Death toll rises to 144

The Railway Minister has to return to the basics, and get safety and security right.

Delegation of powers is a very good thing, but what cannot be delegated is accountability and responsibility. The minister has to keep a sharp focus on these basics.

The railways is also focused on capital expenditure for expansion. These include new projects, as well as enhancement of existing capacity. It’s not apparent whether adequate attention is being paid to maintenance of existing assets to required standards,It’s time for review and get global best practices here.

Especially, in the light of the fact that the cold season is almost upon us, and that is the season when maximum number of rail accidents take place. This is the time of urgent intervention if we want Indian Railways to attain world class standards which it can achieve.


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