A day after the loss of 23 lives in a train accident near Mathura, the Railways Ministry has started taking a hard look at the critical need to provide for better training to drivers.
‘Prima facie’ evidence suggesting that the tragedy happened because of “human failure”, plans are being worked for the fast-forward acquisition of simulators to train the 80,000-strong force of locomotive pilots, who ply 8984 passenger trains across a 63,000-km network — ferrying 1.4 million passengers daily.
At Thursday’s meeting with Rail Board members, Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee said that safety issues could not be compromised with. She directed members to accord top priority to safety — including the option of the import of technology.
Indian Railways acquired 12 simulators from the French Corys at a cost of 12 million Euros in 2005. The railways once again floated global tenders in 2007 to acquire 18 big and 108 small simulators. “The acquisition plans have not moved forward, but we will shortly take a re-look at the proposal”, a senior ministry official said.