- Every time a catastrophe of any magnitude befalls humanity, humanity is wired to respond in a specific way. Certainly, the mere idea of tragedy conjures up sentiments of dread, fear, worry, unease, unrest, and a general sense of loss. And when that tragedy results in the deaths of several hundred innocent people, an unbearably depressing emotion sweeps through our being, making it insufferable. It is now impossible to imagine a tragedy happening because of fault lines in the current world because of the breakthroughs, inventions, and technology-driven foolproof safety measures that have been developed over time. Particularly about the safety features of contemporary transport services, regardless of the method.
- Every concerned person in the nation, including the railway authorities, must have been outraged by the recent horrible triple-train catastrophe in Odisha. Although it initially seems to be a case of human error, numerous accounts have been given that the technical rigmarole could also be to blame. Luckily, some details surrounding the incident have been addressed by Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. We are aware that the Chennai-bound Coromandel Express went off the track and slammed head-on into a cargo train. As a result, one of its bogies derailed and collided with a passenger train operating on a parallel track in the other direction. Vaishnaw stated that there appears to be a technical issue with the signaling system. Yet, this needs to be supported by indisputable proof.
- Remember that signaling, derailment, and collisions are all covered by the definition of railway safety. This has historically been a place of structural vulnerability, as the Balasore tragedy serves as another awful reminder. We have not grown from the traumatic events of the past. The parliamentary standing committee on Railways and CAG, two organizations that monitor safety issues in railroads, have regularly raised concerns. They published at least three reports between December 2016 and March 2023, all of which found that, when compared to internal guidelines, railways fell short of safety criteria. The financial aspect of safety comes first. To address the issue of safety, the Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) fund was established in 2017–18.
- This was done to ensure that safety-related work was completed methodically. The majority of this funding comes from the overall budget, which stabilizes the flow of funds. The parliamentary committee noted that the annual money has never been used entirely in March 2023. Not having enough money is the main issue. The mindset toward safety is the main problem, and we Indians sadly lack it. Derailments made up 75% of consequential train accidents between 2016–17 and 2020–21, and collisions made up the remaining 5%. Notwithstanding this, the CAG claims that the railway ministry has been mistake-prone in adhering to its protocol for inspections and track replacements. To prevent disasters, the Railway Ministry must give high priority to implementing the finest safety procedures right away.