Preliminary probe hints at human error behind Utkal Express derailment
The probe revealed that the permanent way inspector (PWI) refused to block movement of trains on the track in question despite repeated requests by the Khatauli station master in view of the ongoing repair work.india Updated: Aug 21, 2017 23:19 IST
The Utkal Express accident occurred in Khatauli on Saturday due to gross negligence and human error, preliminary investigation by the commissioner of railway safety (CRS) (Northern Circle) Shailesh Kumar Pathak indicated.
The preliminary probe revealed that the permanent way inspector (PWI) , also known as traffic controller, refused to block movement of trains on the track in question despite repeated requests by the Khatauli station master Rajendra Singh in view of the ongoing repair work, Pathak told reporters at the Khatauli railway station on Monday.
Pathak began his probe on Monday and inspected the derailment site with a team of officials.
The CRS faced opposition during his inspection of the track and locals blamed negligence of railway staff for the accident and the deaths of passengers.
Talking to journalists, Pathak said the PWI refused to accept the station master’s plea, saying two or three trains were already on hold and he could not delay them.
Pathak said prima facie it seemed a gross violation of rules and asked how one could allow trains to pass on faulty tracks.
“There could have been many ways to control the situation but these were not taken into compliance,” he said.
The commissioner said the final report would be prepared after recording statements of more people and on the basis of the available evidence.
As per the railway rules, he has to submit the report within a month. But he clarified, “I can also submit it before then.”
He admitted receiving two audio clips of a conversation between the station master and the traffic controller regarding the demand to block the tracks.
He said the audio clips could be treated as evidence only after a certified testing lab established their authenticity.
The commissioner said over 60% accidents occurred due to human error.
Referring to stern action initiated against railway officials after the accident, he said the railways can’t compromise on the safety of passengers.
First Published: Aug 21, 2017 23:18 IST