In his temporary approval for Bombardier rakes, the CRS had made a huge list of recommendations to be implemented in the future. One of them was installation of 16 fire extinguishers in each coach. It looks like CRS has decided to block the bombardier rakes using this as a reason. A report in DNA says:
Two fire extinguishers per door of a suburban local i.e 180 of such red metal cans for every 12-coach train. This was one of the many recommendations of the Commissioner of Railway Safety while granting permission to the new Bombardier rakes in February. The sanction given to the two rakes is valid for 6 months from the commissioning of the trains. Since the first Bombardier rake was thrown open for the public on March 18, the validity of the CRS sanction is till September 18.
However there is still no clarity on whether the railways is supposed to implement these recommendations before September 19. Speaking to dna, safety commissioner Bakshi informed that he had not heard from the railways on this issue since granting sanction to the Bombardier rake on February 5.
“I have not been told anything about when the railways plans to implement this recommendation. I know these things take time as in some cases permission from the railway board is required. I will wait for another month before taking the next step on the matter. I believe these recommendations are for public safety and must be adhered to,” said Bakshi.
Here is what railway officials say on this issue:
While publicly railways officials were unwilling to take an opposing stand to the CRS recommendation, privately they admitted that the order looked ‘excessive’. “Why does a suburban coach require 16 fire extinguishers? Past incidents on the suburban system have shown that commuters get more than enough time to get off the train if it catches fire. A fire-extinguisher will not help much since people are more engrossed in escaping a train that has caught fire rather than stay back and try to douse it. That is the job of professionals and should be left to them”
Another official said that the presence of these fire-extinguishers will make them a target for thieves and vandals. “It will be a drain on resources if these extinguishers keep getting stolen and we have to replace them. Remember we are talking about almost 180 extinguishers on a rake and Mumbai’s suburban system has more that 200 rakes,” said the official.
I agree with the points raised by railway officials. In addition to what they have already said, the percentage of passengers who actually know how to use a fire extinguisher is likely to be in single digits.
I just hope that CRS doesn’t block further approvals of these rakes on the basis of these recommendations