05 July 04, Central Chronicle

NEW DELHI: A report of the Commission for Railway Safety (CRS) has said that “human failure” is the reason for train accidents in more than 80 per cent of cases.

A White Paper on Safety (WPS) prepared by Indian Railways last year says as per the statutory inquiries, failure of the railway staff causes most of the mishaps.

In 1997-98 report to Parliament, the CRS said 83 per cent of all major train accidents were due to “human failures”.

However, consumer safety experts argue that putting the blame on human failure is like taking the easy way out.

“If human error is shown as the cause of the latest tragedy, suspension of the person deemed at fault ends the story. If, however, the failure of the system – tracks, bridges, signalling systems, etc – is deemed to be the cause, then it implies a lot of remedial work and is, therefore, avoided,” says researcher Soumi Home Roy in a report by CUTS, an NGO.

Experts advise the setting up of a Safety Board on the lines of the National Transportation Safety Board of the USA, which would look after the safety aspects of railway network and take the responsibility for all repairs, maintenance and upgradation.