New Delhi: Coming down heavily at the reluctant approach of the Railways in beefing up immediate arrangements post rail accidents, Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairperson Murli Manohar Joshi asked them to expedite the work on strengthening the accident relief system.

Submitting two rail reports on Wednesday in the Parliament, Joshi condemned the inability of the Railways in sending relief trains to the accident spots on time.

“During the 2006 local train blasts in Mumbai, the relief train reached the accident spot when almost all the victims were taken to the hospital,” Joshi stated adding “under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, relief trains should always be ready and must be sent within the golden hour (the first 60 minutes when the chances of minimizing the casualty rates is relatively high) to the accident scene”.

The PAC also expressed serious concerns over the tardy progress by the Railways in safeguarding unmanned level crossings where rate of accidents is relatively very high.

Notably, out of 34,220 rail crossings across the country, 16, 976 are unmanned.

The PAC has recommended that work related to enhancing safety at these unmanned level crossings should be accelerated and intensified further.

Taking note of the delay in beefing up signal and telecommunication works, the PAC said, “Out of the 2,415 km rail route on which the communication channel was required to be made, work on only 1, 700 km has been done till date.”

Joshi also expressed concerns over the encroachment in railway land and has asked to take all possible and effective precautionary and preventive measures against such acts.

JPN/Bureau