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8.1 A High-level Committee was constituted in September, 2002 to review the Disaster Management over the Indian Railways. The Committee presented its recommendations in a report in April 2003, which has been accepted. The implementation of the recommendations would require an estimated Rs.400 crores. The detailed accepted recommendations, and broad costs are indicated in the report, which are to be implemented in next three years. This estimate, however, does not include some recommendations for which the cost implications are being assessed.

8.2 The main areas of focus o­n disaster management in the next decade will be:

Faster Response
  • Three-coach self-sufficient Self-propelled Accident Relief Train (SPART) capable of running at 140 kmph, for quicker initial response would be introduced.
  • Rationalization of existing locations of Accident Relief Trains (ART) and Accident Relief Medical Vans (ARMV) would be undertaken for faster availability at site.
  • For rescue operations, need to obtain police clearance would be obviated.
Better facilities and equipments
  • Steam cranes will be phased out, including those o­n MG system.
  • Existing ARTs will be speeded up to 100 kmph and ARMV to the highest speed in the sections.
Expanding resources to meet requirements in major accidents
  • Crack teams at each Zonal Railway HQ with containerised equipment to be introduced.
  • Standby ART/ARMV gangs will be organised whenever required.
  • Assistance by armed forces and para-military forces in rescue effort will be obtained, whenever required.
Better customer focus
advanced and better communication facilities would be provided to take care and handling of the injured and dead.

Training and Preparedness
Full scale mock drill exercises for each ART.

ART Management will undergo major changes covering rolling stock management, status of equipment, monitoring of utilization of assets and availability and consumption of stores etc.

8.3 It is proposed to review targets for following activities:-

  • ARMVs and ARTs would be turned out within the stipulated time, and ensuring that they get precedence over all other trains. ARMVs would be given priority in the return direction also, as they may be required at other locations too.
  • Reliable and effective communication channels would be established at the site of accident to be in contact with divisional and zonal headquarters o­n arrival of ARMV at site.
  • Transhipment of unaffected passengers and their clearance from the accident site would be organised quickly.
  • Even in case of the worst possible accident with adverse and extreme circumstances, all injured passengers would be rescued o­n priority.
  • In rescue operations, top priority will be given to all passengers in critical condition for immediate medical attention.
  • Even in case of the worst possible accident, dead bodies would be extricated at fastest possible speed.
  • Ex_gratia payment to all injured passengers and next of kin of all deceased passengers (after identification) to be arranged expeditiously.
  • Complete medical care will be taken, of all injured passengers, including payment of medical bills, till their final discharge from hospitals.
  • Claims compensation booklets containing forms and other instructions will be distributed to all injured passengers and next of kin of all deceased passengers.
8.4 Strategy to be adopted
  • Each Zonal Railway and each Division will prepare its Disaster Management Plan.
  • These Disaster Management Plans will be dovetailed with State / District Disaster Management Plan.
  • SPART (Self Propelled Accident Relief Train) consisting of 3 coach units will be deployed o­ne in each division.
  • Feasibility of entering into a tie-up with reputed private/civil hospitals and with State Governments to be explored for speedy relief and assistance.
  • Rescue Ambulances are to be positioned at hospitals in divisions having good road network.
  • Air lifting of needy, seriously injured passengers to nearby hospitals would be explored.
  • Armed forces will be approached for assistance during disasters, whenever required.
  • Feasibility of introducing emergency rail-cum-road vehicle will be explored.
  • Each Zone is proposed to have a professionally trained Crack team of rail rescue experts and containerized equipment, based at headquarters, to be rushed to any major accident site by air or land route.
  • Feasibility of providing road access to bridges, tunnels, high embankments and deep cuttings will be explored by divisions.
  • Two roof hatches and o­ne under-floor hatch, for emergency escape are proposed to be provided in all coaches.
  • Emergency automatic lights in coaches would be provided.
  • Adequate financial powers to DRMs and concerned branch officers will be given to ensure quicker rescue operations.
  • Special Disaster Management Team of RPF is proposed to be set up o­n each division for providing support to relief and restoration.
  • Collapsible coffins will be kept at each divisional hospital and transported to the site of accident.
  • All ARTs will be provided with Air brake stock.
  • A minimum of o­ne 140 Tonne break down crane will be provided in each BG division.
  • Disaster Management Training Modules, with special focus o­n rescue, extrication, medical relief, and restoration techniques etc., will be launched at four nominated training centres.

7.1 Human Resource
Manpower is the most valuable asset in any organization, more so in IR which is highly labour intensive. The Indian Railways with a work force of nearly 1.5 million is o­ne of the biggest employers in the world. To have the optimum output from the workforce, higher motivation level and stress free environment is to be ensured. Suiting the job requirements, skills of manpower have to be suitably developed requiring adequate attention in their training facilities.

7.2 New Challenges

The challenges and pressures of the coming decades would require Railway staff to be developed in a way different from what has been done hitherto. Technological advances including those in the fields of IT and communication along with rapidly changing expectations of the new generations will force every railway employee to think and act differently to produce matching results. Not o­nly new management system and expertise would be required but also a totally different organizational culture and management ethos would be called for to maintain competitive edge. Railway employees would have to take advantage of the knowledge explosion, acquire and assimilate new skills in rapidly changing technology in their respective areas of work.

7.3 Human Failures
Under optimum field conditions and with the best of intentions, a human being is likely to commit a mistake from time to time, i.e. from o­ne in hundred (10_2) to o­ne in thousand (10_3). This is the reason why operating rules include many redundancies in safety procedures and operating practices involve number of checks and balances. Equipment is utilized to prevent human errors and automation is resorted to. By providing all such technical checks, it is sought to reduce chances of likely mistake to o­ne in million (10_6).

Another reason for high incidence of human failures is the fact that technical safeguards and backups do not necessarily replace the human effort. Direct responsibility for preventing an accident has to be properly ascribed. Staff becomes complacent with the knowledge that technical support is available to them for checking their mistakes. Repeated failure of technical support as merely an overlay creates a situation, which is worse. Though an accident occurs o­nly when both fail but it usually gets logged as `human error' with a tendency of glossing over technical failure. With increase in number of failures of such safety support systems, the technical backup is not really available.

7.4 Maintenance Staff
One important aspect is the staff failure of `other than front line staff'. Derailments constitute around 75% of consequential train accidents o­n IR. While it is an undisputed fact that frontline staff should be properly trained and their working closely monitored, the focus must now gradually shift to staff working in production and maintenance activities, since they are responsible for majority of the accidents, that occur due to `failures of railway staff'. Necessary infrastructure and staff would be created for maintaining new trains as is done in the case of running staff.

7.5 To enhance the quality of human resources, multi-pronged strategy would have to be adopted.

7.6 Recruitment
  • The focus will be o­n appropriate aptitude while selecting personnel.
  • A review and update of minimum qualifications prescribed for each category will be undertaken taking into account required knowledge, skill and availability of trained manpower.
  • To improve the quality of recruitment of safety category staff, the job eligibility standards would be raised for general as well as reserved category candidates.
  • Increase in the proportion of lateral induction at specified levels for critical safety categories would be considered.
  • A review of recruitment rules would be carried out for induction of officers and staff for multi-skilled jobs.
  • The initiative taken to reorganize Railway Recruitment Board (RRBs) and enhancing the quality of recruitment would be sustained.
  • Gangmen and drivers above the age of 50 and upto 57 years would be given option to seek voluntary retirement and o­ne of their wards will be given appointment, if eligible.
  • A suitable computerised test programme would be developed and standardised for determining the physical characteristics such as alertness, reaction time, stamina and ability to withstand frequent changes.
Aptitude Tests
The psychological tests being given to new entrants as well as departmental candidates for Station Masters and Drivers etc. will be upgraded and revalidated through competent external professional agencies. These tests are proposed to be converted into computer-based packages for their conduct and evaluation. A multi-disciplinary team is proposed to be sent to advanced railway systems for apprising itself of latest techniques of aptitude tests.

7.7 Training
Modernisation and Upgradation of Training Centres
  • As main Training Centres have already been granted Rs.73.5 crores out of the SRSF for upgradation, remaining training centers, including Basic Training Centres spread all over the Indian Railways are also proposed to be modernized with provision of necessary infrastructure at an overall outlay of Rs. 220 crores (inclusive of allotment under SRSF).
  • Modernisation of training centers would cover institutions imparting training of various disciplines viz. Civil, Mechanical, Signalling and Electrical Engineering etc.
  • Special emphasis shall be laid o­n training of bridge engineers and supervisors o­n regular and continuous basis, at least for next 5 to 6 years to adapt technologies appropriately.
  • ISO certification
    In the long run it is desirable that all staff training centres and work centres would obtain ISO _ 9002 certification and the concept will be extended to all divisional control offices and stations and other work centers.
  • Competency based training to maintenance staff
To improve training methods and switching over to multi-media packages, it is proposed to extend the scheme of competency based training and the staff working in Workshops and Open Line would be given necessary certification. It will be necessary to possess certificate of competency to work o­n the identified critical safety activities such as TXR depots, Workshops and Flash Butt Welding Plants.

  • Apart from conventional methods, interactive training with personal computers would be introduced o­n the lines of modern training methods.
  • Training Modules
A central training cell, composed of multi-disciplinary team of specially selected staff and officers would be started. It will be assigned the responsibility of designing training courses and preparing quality training material.

  • The selection of trainers would be based o­n appropriate aptitude and skill.
  • The training capsules for Drivers and Assistant Drivers would be thoroughly reviewed and greater emphasis would be laid o­n practical training.
  • It is proposed to delegate more powers to field units to make liberal and extensive use of outside training facilities in IT and technology areas.
  • Refresher course for each category will have sufficient case studies of accidents caused due to human failure of that category of staff.
  • Training modules will give stress o­n `know-why' and `show how' rather than the know-how to stress o­n the practical aspects of the training system.
  • Training at the work-spot via the RAILNET, will be made available.
7.8 Examination system : Promotion rules and procedure

  • Over a period of time, a question bank containing objective type questions with multiple-choice answers covering the entire syllabus will be built up. Data bank containing questions covering the entire syllabus will be made available to trainees. At Training Centres, written examinations/test papers will contain objective type questions covering the entire syllabus in random order with multiple-choice answers.
  • When any staff belonging to a safety category becomes overdue for periodic medical examination, refresher course or safety camp, he would not be permitted to continue o­n duty until he completes the stipulated training/examination.
  • After recruitment, for initial training at ZTCs/STCs, pass marks may be upgraded. For promotional course training also, pass marks may be revised.
7.9 Strength of staff and vacancies

  • Staff requirement are proposed to be worked out afresh for zero-based assessment of manpower. Based o­n the exercise, sanctioned strength of staff may be revised and made uniform. Concept of multi-skilling would be adopted.
  • Categories having difficulties in filling up of promotional posts, existing AVCs may be revised.
  • All Safety category vacancies would be filled up o­n urgency basis .
  • Accountability for filling up of vacancies in safety categories will be clearly assigned at appropriate level.
7.10 Modification of Rules

  • With the changes in operating system and pattern of working, modernization and technology upgradation, rule books and manuals will be taken up for reassessment and making them simpler for compliance.
  • A comprehensive accident manual universally applicable to all the Zonal Railways would be framed and circulated.
  • Departments/zonal railways that do not have a particular manual would get o­ne prepared within next 2 years.
  • Separate modules would be drawn up, category-wise, containing do's and don'ts for ensuring safety and preventing failures and accidents.
  • All instructions in consonance with existing manuals would be issued through correction slips to Manuals and Rule Books.
  • Hand Books containing relevant rules, framed in simple language, for different categories of staff would be issued.
  • Compendium of establishment rules pertaining to running staff, and operating staff would be made available to employees directly.
7.11 Inspections

  • To improve quality of inspections, detailed check list of various types of inspections would be made out and circulated.
  • The quality and compliance of inspections would be made an important plank of the management tools.
  • Special safety audits by multi-disciplinary teams would be intensified.
  • A computer data base would be prepared at the Divisional and Zonal Headquarters to assess the efficacy of field inspections.
  • Safety critical checks would be conducted by all inspecting officials.
  • Safety test checks will be intensified as vigilance-like powers have been given to the safety organisation.
  • As the element of surprise and the opportunity to observe performance of staff under actual working conditions in the field is of prime
  • Importance, surprise inspections give an accurate indication of health of the particular unit. Surprise inspections would be intensified, specially between 0 hrs. and 4 hrs. at night.
  • Test checking of inspections of subordinate officers.
  • Maintenance depots and other activity centres would also be covered by night inspection.
7.12 Periodical Safety Drives

  • Certain activities in the railway working, which are seasonal in nature, are neither required to be performed by staff nor required to be checked by supervisors during the course of normal working for the most part of the year. It is for these kind of activities that safety drives are generally targetted.
  • Safety drives would be launched in order to correct a system failure, whenever detected.
  • In the safety drives, all equipment that are to be attended would undergo a cyclic inspection before a particular season. Number, duration and contents of particular safety drives would be selectively decided to retain their focus and value.
7.13 Safety Audit
  • Inspections generally single out individual failures, safety audits are expected to identify system failures and generic shortcomings.
  • Periodic safety audits would be undertaken at various levels for making an in-depth assessment of safety systems. These safety audits may be of many types viz, multi-disciplinary team from Railway Board, inter-Railway, multi- disciplinary headquarters team, inter-divisional, etc. The main purpose behind conducting safety audit is to check o­nly safety critical items and identify system failures or generic shortcomings.
  • Railways will identify the worst sections o­n the divisions with unsatisfactory safety record. Teams would thoroughly audit different units pinpointing deficiencies including ancillary activities viz. staff training, material supply, availability of funds, defective policies/rules etc.
  • Safety audits would be carried out at a number of installations within the target area.
7.14 To promote devotion, dedication and sincerity towards duties, Human Resource Development (HRD) Cells are proposed to be constituted at Zonal, Divisional Headquarters involving dynamic and knowledgeable supervisors to study :

  • Working habits of ground level staff
  • Factors leading to short cuts
  • To reduce fatigue, minimize monotony and improve safety consciousness.
7.15 Review of working hours
To reduce stress, the working hours for identified critical categories of staff would be reviewed, wherever necessary.

7.16 Simulators Training
More and more simulators would be procured for training of drivers to equip them with better capability and reflexes.

7.17 Crew Management
To assess the actual problems faced by the running crews, proper record would be maintained at crew lobbies and follow-up action taken within 24 hours of observations made by drivers. The deficiencies noted during crew runs would be identified and corrected expeditiously.

7.18 Breathalyzer Tests to be strengthened
The Divisional Officers and Supervisors would be provided with mobile breathalyzers for testing of running staff o­n the footplate with an element of surprise.

7.19 Crew friendly cab for locomotives
An ergonomic design of loco cab has been developed to provide easy approach to various control handles/buttons. Providing new features will ensure fatigue-free driving for long hours.

7.20 Upgradation of Running Rooms
It is well established that running rooms should be provided with certain basic amenities like proper hygienic toilet facilities, clean drinking water, proper ventilation, desert coolers, subsidized meals, etc. All the new running rooms would be built with improved layout and proper amenities. The existing running rooms are being upgraded o­n an urgency basis.

7.21 Upgradation of crew lobbies
Crew lobbies also need to be upgraded by providing basic amenities, facility for proper display of various instructions, computer and software package for proper booking of crew and ensuring adequate rest for running staff.

7.22 Guard-friendly brake van
5000 Goods brake vans will be provided with several novel features for making them Guard-friendly and easing stress for goods trains guards.

7.23 Strengthening of Railway Protection Force
To combat outside interference with railway installations like track and signalling equipments etc., it is proposed to equip Railway Protection Force/Railway Protection Special Force with specialized training, weaponry, vehicles and wireless communications and necessary backup support in terms of manpower and barracks. These personnel will also help in guarding railway bridges, microwave towers, route relay cabins and track in identified vulnerable sections.

9.1 The Indian Railways for long have, had a system for funding replacement/renewal of its overaged assets. This has been done through the "Depreciation Reserve Fund"(DRF), created for this specific purpose with effect from 1.4.1924 as recommended by the Committee o­n Depreciation Fund. Annual need-based contributions are made to this fund from Railway revenues. Presently depreciation provided is about Rs.2000 crores per annum. In addition, the lease charges paid to Indian Railway Finance Corporation include an element of capital recovery of more than Rs.1000 crore per annum, which is analogous to provision for depreciation of Rolling Stock assets. While an exercise to review the codal life of various categories of assets is separately underway, duly reckoning technological changes, assets have to be replaced o­n occasion before they have completed their codal life because their usage in terms of traffic hauled so warrants and necessitates replacement.

9.2 Investments of a developmental nature, as also o­n safety related projects have been done through the "Development Fund." Both these funds are sourced from internal generation of resources. While DRF is essentially for replacement and renewals, Development Fund is to meet the expenditure o­n safety related other works such as track circuiting, interlocking of level crossings, provision of lifting barriers, Foot-over Bridges etc.

9.3 Railway Safety Fund _ Safety at Level Crossings
A Railway Safety fund has been created from 1.4.2001 for financing works related to manning of unmanned level crossings and for construction of ROBs/RUBs at busy level crossings. This fund is financed mainly through receipts from Central Road Fund, which is funded by levying of cess of Rs. 1 per litre o­n diesel and petrol. The Railways get 12.5% of entire petrol cess and 6.25% of entire diesel cess. Two separate plan heads , viz. Road Safety Works - LCs and Road Safety Works-ROBs/RUBs have been created in 2000-01 for executing these works.

9.4 Special Railway Safety Fund (SRSF)
In pursuance of RSRC's reommendation, a nonlapsable Special Railway Safety Fund of Rs.17000 cr was created in October 2001 to clear the arrears of replacement/renewal of overaged safety related assets viz., track, bridges, S&T gears and rolling stock and to cater to certain safety enhancement works. Out of this, Rs.5000 cr is to be the railway's contribution through safety surcharge o­n passenger fare and balance Rs.12000 cr in the form of dividend-free budgetary support. To the end March 2003, Rs. 3920 cr have been spent through this fund.

9.5 The Corporate Safety Plan has outlined the role of technology, maintenance practices, modernization and upgradation. There are also important safety policy issues to be decided, which have a bearing o­n investment profile. An attempt has been made to assess the scenario of approximate fund requirement for broad safety related items in the relevant corporate plan period (Refer Annexures A1 to A10). Also, some of the measures suggested constitute various options available for achieving the same objective and, therefore, the best and the most cost-effective option has to be tried out before a managerial decision is taken to adopt the same.

9.6 While clearing of the arrears of replacement of tracks, bridges, signalling gears and rolling stock would be addresed through the SRSF, annual arising for these items will be taken care of by normal provisioning under DRF. In addition, in the plan period, thrust will be given o­n safety enhancement works as identified and detailed in annexures A-1 to A-9. The total expenditure involved for these safety enhancement works would be Rs. 31,835 cr. (Refer Annexure A-10) . Out of this Rs.13,000 cr is available under SRSF for sanctioned works in the Green Book. Further, the requirement under Railway Safety Fund works out to Rs. 8900 cr, implying an expenditure of Rs. 890 cr per year. Presently, the availability under this fund is of the order of Rs. 430 cr per year. Experience shows that the expenditure under Railway Safety Fund has been under Rs. 200 cr per year o­n account of delay o­n the part of the State Governments to sponsor ROB/RUB works o­n cost-sharing basis and also delay in execution of their portion of the work. Thus the additional requirement to fulfil the plan would be of the order of Rs.10,000 cr.

9.7 In conclusion, to achieve the Corporate Safety Plan objectives, Indian Railways will have to initiate a number of business reengineering measures and efficiency enhancement steps. Non-budgetary initiatives to meet the project related expenditure will have to be stepped up so that matching funds become available for safety enhancement works outlined in this corporate plan. Besides, a safety oriented scheme to meet the projected requirement of funds may also have to be resorted to, for which the assistance of the Planning Commission and the Ministry of Finance would be sought.

Source : रेल मंत्रालय (रेलवे बोर्ड) CMS Team Last Reviewed on: 05-02-2011  

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