Be ready for consequences for any lapse: Prabhu to officials

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New Delhi, Dec 29 (IANS) A day after 15 coaches of the Ajmer-Sealdah Express derailed in Uttar Pradesh, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu warned officials “to be ready for the consequences for any (safety) lapse”.

“Safety is paramount and cannot be compromised. The General Managers need to live up to the expectations required from them,” Prabhu said on Thursday while addressing all the General Managers of Zonal Railways here.

Warning the railway officials, Prabhu said: “Be ready for consequences for any lapse.”

During his address, Prabhu said: “Responsibility would now be fixed at higher levels for any lapses.”

He said that “delegation cannot work without responsibility.”

Prabhu’s remarks come in the wake of the two train accidents in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur area in a short span of just 40 days.

On Wednesday, 15 coaches of the Ajmer-Sealdah Express derailed near Ruru station in Uttar Pradesh leaving at least 61 passengers injured.

On November 20, 14 coaches of the Patna-Indore train had derailed near Pukhraya leaving 149 dead and over 300 injured.

Before his address to the General Managers of the Zonal Railways, Prabhu held a series of meetings with all members of the Railway Board, who are involved in the safe running of trains.

The minister directed that all the railway installations be inspected over the next one week to identify and rectify the shortcomings.

Prabhu instructed that “inspection report with actionable points” should be sent to the Railway Board within the prescribed time and ordered an independent audit of the safety installations.

The minister ordered that all mail or express trains should have at least one officer or senior subordinate travelling during night hours on locomotives for comprehensive inspection over the next 10 days in addition to the existing schedule and inspection at various levels.

Prabhu asked the Railway Board to fast track the procurement of safety equipment and machines.

Even earlier after the Patna-Indore Express accident, the railways had decided to increase its safety and inspection oversight. That time it had decided to completely switch over to the production of LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) coaches which are designed with better safety features like ant-climbing and anti-telescoping.

According to the railways, an action plan has been chalked out for retro-fitting of the existing 45,000 ICF (Integral Coach Factory) designed coaches with better safety features over the next three to four years.

–IANS

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