Performance Audit of ‘Derailments in Indian Railways
A performance audit of ‘Derailments in Indian Railways’ was conducted by the Indian Railways (IR) for the period 2017-18 to 2020-21. The audit, conducted during the year 2021-22, focused on assessing the implementation of measures to prevent derailments/collisions by the Ministry of Railways (MoR). Additionally, the timely conducting of investigations on derailments/collisions and the implementation of preventive recommendations were also examined. The audit emphasized the proper deployment of funds in accordance with the guidelines of Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK).
- Shortfalls ranging from 30-100 per cent were observed in inspections by Track Recording Cars, which are required to assess the geometrical and structural conditions of railway tracks.
- Idling of Track machines was noticed due to various reasons, including blocks not given by the Operating Department (32 per cent), blocks not planned by Divisions (30 per cent), operational problems (19 per cent), non-availability of staff (five per cent), and no scope of work (three per cent).
- Analysis of 1129 ‘Inquiry Reports’ of derailment accidents in 16 Zonal Railways (ZRs) revealed 24 factors responsible for derailments in the selected cases/accidents. The total damages/loss of assets in these cases was reported as ₹32.96 crore.
Major Causes of Train Derailment in India
- A total of 422 derailments were attributable to the ‘Engineering Department,’ with ‘maintenance of track’ (171 cases) being the major factor responsible for derailments, followed by ‘deviation of track parameters beyond permissible limits’ (156 cases).
- The number of derailments attributable to the ‘Mechanical Department’ was 182. Defects in ‘wheel diameter variation and defects in coaches/wagons’ were the major contributor (37 per cent) to the factors responsible for derailments.
- The number of accidents attributable to the ‘Loco Pilots’ was 154, with ‘Bad Driving/Over speeding’ being the major factor responsible for derailments.
- The number of accidents attributable to the ‘Operating Department’ was 275. ‘Incorrect setting of points and other mistakes in shunting operations’ accounted for 84 per cent.
- In 63 per cent of the cases, the ‘inquiry reports’ were not submitted to the accepting authority within the prescribed time schedule. Additionally, there was a delay in the acceptance of the reports by accepting authorities in 49 per cent of the cases.
- The overall expenditure on Priority-I works from RRSK showed a declining trend, from 81.55 per cent in 2017-18 to 73.76 per cent in 2019-20. The allotment of funds for Track Renewal works declined from ₹9607.65 crore (2018-19) to ₹7417 crore in 2019-20. The funds allocated to track renewal works were also not fully utilized. Out of 1127 derailments during 2017-21, 289 derailments (26 per cent) were linked to track renewals.
- Fire extinguishers had not been provided in 27,763 coaches (62 per cent) in violation of extant norms.
- Out of 2908 manned level crossings (nine per cent) targeted for elimination during 2018-21, only 2059 (70 per cent) level crossings were eliminated.
- IR should ensure strict adherence to the scheduled timelines for conducting and finalization of accident inquiries.
- IR may develop a strong monitoring mechanism to ensure timely implementation of maintenance activities by adopting fully mechanized methods of track maintenance and improved technologies.
- Railway Administration must follow the ‘guiding principles for deployment of RRSK funds’ to avoid fund constraints in the area of Priority-I works.
- IR may prepare the ‘Detailed Outcome Framework’ for each item of safety work as per the indicative outcomes to gauge whether the benefits derived out of the RRSK funds are in conformity with the objectives behind the creation of the Fund.
Source: The above summary and recommendations from the CAG report Report No.22 of 2022 – Performance Audit on Derailment in Indian Railways, Union Government (Railways)
Download the PDF of the 2022 CAG Report on Derailment in Indian Railways