In a week that saw two railway accidents, one on the Central Railway (C.R.) and the other on Western Railway (W.R.), the big question that must be raised is safety of passengers.
The back to back accidents on successive days, Wednesday for C.R. and Thursday for W.R. sharply brings into focus safety issues.
On Wednesday night a Titwala bound C.R. local rammed into an empty rake. The motorman Anil Chinchkar could not explain his sudden lapse in concentration leading to his getting lynched by the irate commuters. 20 people were injured in the accident which occurred at 11.50 p.m.
Although Chinchkar had to go through a blood test to establish if he had consumed alcohol, the authorities havnt made the results public. Instead an inquiry has been initiated into the incident.
If this wasn’t enough, a Churchgate bound fast left the Borivli station without its guard on the W.R.!
It seems rd Mr. P.K. Chaudhary left the train in charge of an RPF constable Mr. Singh while he entertained nature’s call.
The instruction for the constable was to call out to the guard as soon as he heard the motorman’s bell. Instead the constable panicked when the bell rang and Chaudhary didn’t answer his call. He literally ‘pushed the panic button’ which rang another bell signaling the motorman to go ahead.
And so Chaudhary was left to watch his own train leave without him!
A relay message to Kandivli station meant the station manager himself had to take up the guard’s task, while officials scrambled to find a free guard!
So after the comedy of error, the train finally was given a guard till its end journey to Churchgate.
What really comes to light are some grim facts about the state of our rail system. While Chinchkar may or may not have been drunk, our motormen are high strung for sure. If he possibly jumped a red signal and didn’t see the empty rake till the last moment, his concentration was clearly wavering. It could also be attributed to fatigue. Such an ‘accident’ could very well prove to be dangerous if it reoccurs.
As to Chaudhary, it can only be attributed to gaps in procedure and improper handling of the job at hand. That the RPF constable is being made the fall guy and given 10 days sentry work shows the lack of transparency on the part of W.R.
Clearly it is the guard Chaudhary’s fault. How was a mere constable untrained as he is in ‘motormanship’ being held responsible?
It is Chaudhary who must be held accountable also for dereliction of duty. Also the motorman failed to seek a second clearance.
If all the correct laws had been followed none of these fiascos would have taken place.
Merely instituting high level inquiries to sate public opinion is not going to be the solution. W.R. & C.R. have a lot to answer for.
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