Business & Economy

India’s Deadliest train accident in Odisha due to lack of manpower? 3.5 lakhs railway posts are Vacant.

The country has witnessed one of the horrible train accidents in recent times. With the increase in the number of deaths continuously due to the tragic train accident in Balasore, the unemployed youth population are waiting to fill the vacancies in the Railway departments. These vacant positions have a major contribution in preventing these types of accidents.

Coromandel Express encountered a terrible accident, as it diverged from the original track and collided with the goods train engine on the other track. As a result, many compartments were damaged and one more train which was traveling between the cities of Howrah and Bangalore crashed onto the collapsed Coromandel compartments, which resulted in the loss of 288 people and around 1,000 people were injured in this rail accident.

Ashwini Vaishnaw made an announcement ensuring “to give a compensation of ₹10 lakhs for the families of those who died in the accident, an amount of ₹2 lakhs were assured to severely injured people and 50,000 rupees for those with minor injuries. A top level investigation was launched, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the injured victims in the hospital and visited the accident spot as well”.

A report was published by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in the year 2022, ‘it highlighted all the main components that are accountable for the mishaps and the Inquiry Committee was formed to conduct the investigation on the factors that are responsible for the damages’.

According to the CAG report, the ZR didn’t stick to the timeline that was instructed by the Railway department to conduct the inquiry in half of the concerned cases. The report also said that the Railway department had ignored the requirement of workforce and managed through outsourcing. The inefficient management of staff in the category of safety tier has compromised the vision of the Indian Railways in achieving fire free, accident free and collision free rail operations in the country.

The report disclosed that the inspection was conducted only in 181 cases out of 350. Around 50% of the safety inspections on mandatory tracks were neglected. Moreover 217 accidents were caused in the year 2017-2021 due to the derailments and 211 were caused because of the signal failure. The report said that the funds were allocated to projects which were not urgent rather than investing the amount in the safety category of railways.

A report was published by The print , it highlighted that the lack of manpower in the Indian Railways department is one of the major reasons for the mishaps. The South East Central Railway loco pilots shifts were exceeded by 35.99 % in March, 34.53% in the month of April and the shift was increased by 33.26% in May.

It was reported in the year 2017 that around 1.42 lakh positions were vacant in the safety category and in January 2023, the Ministry’s data indicated that more than 3.12 lakh positions remained empty in gazetted and non gazetted posts in 18 zones. The Central Railway has the vacancy of 28,650 positions and around half of those positions were reserved for the backward categories, it included staff from maintenance and operational departments such as train examiners, inspectors, shunters, drivers and few others.

A senior official in the Indian railways claimed that “the vacancies are increasing due to the retirement of the employees and nearly 1,41,886 employees were retired from various categories in the last 3 years. 50,051 staff retired in the year 2019-20, 46,988 in the year 2020-21 and around 44,847 in the year 2021-22. A continuous effort is being taken by the Railway department to fill the vacant posts”, he said.

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