New Delhi: Constituted under the Railway Act, the Railway Safety Commission (RSC) has proved to be a toothless body, which merely completes the formalities of conducting investigations and making recommendations.

With no compulsion on Railways Department or Minister to follow the RSC recommendations, most of the suggestions more than often fall on deaf ears.

With both Railway Department and Ministry turning a blind eye to the RSC recommendation, there appears to be no concrete plan to prevent the train mishaps.

In an effort to avoid humiliation, most of the reports and recommendations of RSC are not made public. The reports are kept secret to such an extent that in case of a train accident, only the reason behind the mishap is revealed through a press release, whereas the RSC recommendation is kept under covers.

The phenomenon of red tapism is strictly embedded in the bureaucratic system of the railways. With train mishaps being reported at frequent intervals, the investigations are billed to be never ending process. The transfers and promotions of officials ensure that the recommendations remain restricted to files.

According to the Railway Act, the concerned RSC and the main commission are required to start the investigations in the mishap without the permission of the Railway authorities.

The investigation report is then sent to the chief administrator of the concerned Railway Zone who after his comments sent the reports to the Railway Board. Barring few major mishaps, the remaining reports are ignored by the Railway Board.

The Railway Minister generally takes keen interest in only those cases which are either related to his/her constituency or home state.

Nitish Kumar has been amongst the rare Railways Ministers who have given due importance to RSC and formed a Corporate Commission Police. Kumar had allotted Rs 17,000 crore to modernize the department through Special Rail Safety Commission.

JPN/Bureau