Train Accident
Hopefully, one day such terrible train accidents will be a thing of the past (file photo)

Jammu: The Narendra Modi government is working to ensure safe journeys for 23 million passengers using the train service in the country daily and its efforts have led to a decline of 62% in accidents, a senior official said.

Ramesh Chandra Ratn, the chairman of Passenger Service Committee (PSC) of Railway Board, said the railway sector has seen major development in last five years with the addition of 9,500 km track, providing 675 high-speed wifi connections and LEDs at various stations.

“Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and Union Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal is making all-out efforts to make train travel safe and secure for passengers,” Ratn, also a senior BJP leader, told reporters Tuesday. He said these efforts have led to a decline of 62% in accidents.

But the datum is not new. The news of a 62% reduction in train accidents was revealed by Goyal last year. At a press conference on 11 June 2018, Goyal, who has in Modi 2.0 continued as the Railway Minister, had said the railways had registered its best ever safety record in 2017-18 with consequential train accidents reduced to 62% — from 118 in 2013-14 to 73 in 2017-18.

Ratn, heading a four-member team, arrived here on a four-day official visit and inspected the Katra railway station. He said the team found irregularities during the inspection and imposed penalties of Rs 50,000 each on Doon Caterers and the vendors, besides another penalty of Rs 15,000 on the parking contractor for not maintaining the area properly. “There are 8,000 railways stations, 17 zones and 68 divisions, which come under the jurisdiction of PSC in matters related to services provided to the passengers from boarding a train till completion of one’s journey anywhere in the country,” he said.

Promising prompt action against any complaint, Ratn said the government’s endeavour is to provide the best service to the passengers and the PSC enjoys the mandate to look into passenger issues and recommend appropriate action to improve the services. The PSC has recommended to the Ferozpur Division to award to the officer responsible for promoting Swachta Abhiyan at the railway station, he said.

He said the team will visit Jammu railway station and stations in Kashmir Valley now.

Goyal, having achieved the lowest accident figures in his previous tenure, had repeatedly said that his goal was to reach the zero accident standard.

The biggest challenge of Piyush Goyal would be to maintain the record by timely track maintenance and renewal. His aim would be to ensure that railway factories ramp up production of state-of-the-art coaches for trains such as Vande Bharat Express so that more such services can be introduced.