Font Size



Menu Style

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
(Image Courtesy: Indian Railways)
The Railways in Jammu & Kashmir is getting safety hiccups. 
A scheduled examination of railways’ functioning in the State last month showed 1) lax security at railway Stations. It also brought to light non-compliance with a crucial operational requirement. The Check has brought to surface apprehensions over the implications of central security forces occupying railway buildings.
Assessment of railways’ functioning last month showed door metal detectors were not functioning at three visited stations – Srinagar, Budgam (BDGM) and Shri Mata Vaishno Devi (SVDK)
A Railway Board Member (RBM), who did spot checking at Srinagar Station, stated: “The metal detector installed at the entrance of the platform had not been working for last 2 months. There was no hand-held metal detector either. This needs to be addressed urgently considering the security issues involved”.
While coming out of BDGM station, he noted that door metal detector at the entrance was not working. He encountered the same security laxity at SVDK station.
According to examination report, certain coaches in Kashmir Valley appeared “shabby externally because of fading of the paint”.  It has suggested application of polyurethane paint on coach exteriors to perk up their appearance.
As put by the Report, “People of Kashmir consider train service their pride. Moreover, a beautiful, good-looking train will be less prone to miscreant activities”.
While travelling from Srinagar to Budgam, RBM found that neither motorman (train pilot) nor chief loco inspector (CLI) had working timetable (WT). It is different from train timetable that passenger are familiar with. 
WT shows all details of all train movements including empty moves. It shows each train or trip identity and intermediate times for some, if not all stations. WT also shows sectional speed sanctioned and permanent speed restrictions, according to experts. 
The train pilot is required to regulate the train’s movement in keeping with WT. This helps avoid either excessive speed or loss of time. WT mandates him/her to not make up between any two stations more time than permissible limit.
The non-availability of guidelines in Station Working Rules (SWR) for train operations during snowfall has also figured in the report. 
It appears the Railways don’t take seriously all recommendations of several committees that dealt with passenger safety & security of railways assets. It is here pertinent to recall Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on Performance Audit of Security Management in Indian Railways (Report No 14 of 2011-12).
It observed: “There is a distinct lack of security consciousness on the part of the Railway Administration, despite recommendations of the High Level Committee on Composite Security Plan”.
The examination report has also listed a few issues relating to passenger conveniences. It, for instance, observed scarcity of printers at ticketing area of Srinagar Station. The report says: “one printer meant for printing PRS (Passenger Reservation System) tickets was being used for printing UTS (Unreserved Ticket System) tickets. Speed of this printer was very slow causing resentment among the passengers during peak hours”.  
Local railways administration raised sensitive issue of occupancy of railway land by security forces like Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and army in the Valley. They have occuplied rail quarters and barracks at many places.
Report has quoted local administration as saying that “this sort of encroachment may cause nuisance in future, once rail link is established between Banihal and Katra”. The number of train services would increase and so would the railways’ requirement of space and quarters. 
Railway stations can be targeted by stone pelters due to camping of security forces in the vicinity of stations. The Report has thus suggested that this issue should be dealt with at “appropriate inter-ministerial level if required to protect railways costly assets”. 
The Report has also brought to notice of Railway Board its discriminatory approach towards two categories of staff working at the same location. The staff serving in construction organization in Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link project  get extra incentives and allowances as compared toh open-line staff serving at same location. 
As put by the report, “The logic behind such incentive is to promote more participation and give a push to staff to join the construction organization. Extending the same benefit to the Open Line staff also may be examined as the working conditions of open line staff posted in Kashmir valley are the same as for the staff working in construction organization”.
You are here: Home Miscellaneous Chinks in Railways’ Safety Surface in Kashmir