Why two committees for suburban railways?

There are 2 press reports on committees formed to study passenger deaths. Both of them raise very valid points.

On one hand, there is an idea of having a unified body for overseeing Mumbai’s suburban rail system, and on the other, the Indian Railways themselves are creating further division between the Central and Western Railway.

In the last two days, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has created two separate committees, one each for the Central and Western Railway, which will look into the accidents happening on Mumbai’s suburban corridors.

Over the last few years, there has been a demand for segregating Mumbai from the rest of the Indian Railways. In fact, the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) was formed way back in 1999 for the purpose of ensuring proper management of the suburban rail corridors. But here the railways have themselves bifurcated the two railways by forming two different committees, which would have their first meetings on December 5-6.

Source: www.mid-day.com/articles/mr-railway-minister-why-two-committees-for-suburban-railways/16740176

Sachin, Rekha on panel to study train deaths

Rajya Sabha members Sachin Tendulkar, actor Rekha, and screenwriter/lyricist Javed Akhtar, along with elected parliamentarians, will look into reasons why hundreds of people are losing their lives annually on the 128-km long suburban network of the Western Railway (WR), on which more than 35 lakh commuters travel every day.

Western Railway on Thursday appointed a mammoth Accident Review Committee with 19 MPs on board, including the three celebrities, railway and state government officials, and commuters’ representatives.

A WR spokesperson said the committee would hold its first public hearing at Churchgate on Saturday. Railway officials and commuters’ activists, however, doubt whether the MPs will turn up for meetings and hearings, because most of them do not attend regular meetings of other railways-appointed committees. Recently, railways minister Suresh Prabhu had announced that panels would be set up to look into the reasons behind the rising numbers of accidental deaths on the tracks, and to suggest corrective measures. His announcement came in the wake of public outrage over the death of 21-year-old Dombivli resident Bhavesh Nakate, who died after falling from an overcrowded train.

Acting on Prabhu’s directive, Central Railway set up a ninemember panel, including four MPs. But the the panel sparked controversy, because people close to the ruling BJP were apppointed, and commuter groups were ignored. Hence, taking a cautious stand, WR has set up a huge 25-member committee.

Source: Hindustan Times

These committees are stuffed with people who perhaps never travel on the suburban railway. I wonder how competent they are to provide solutions! They will meet a few times over tea, come up with a report and that would be end of the story. The report will end up eating dust somewhere in the offices of railways.

This whole thing is going to turn out a farce, looking at how things are progressing. I do not have any hopes of improvements as an outcome of meetings/studies of these committees.


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