Opposition Criticizes Centre as CRS Report Highlights ‘Lapses at Multiple Levels’ in Odisha Train Tragedy

6 July, 2023 | Bhavnish Tawar

Train Accident National

Opposition cornered the Central Government on Wednesday over the loopholes discovered by Commission of Railway Safety in it's ongoing probe of Odisha train accident.

The Congress and Trinamool Congress have strongly criticized the Modi government, contending that the government has compromised on the fundamental aspects of railway safety. This condemnation from the Opposition followed the submission of a report by the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) concerning the triple train accident in Odisha’s Balasore district on June 2, resulting in the tragic loss of over 250 lives.

The CRS report identifies faulty signalling systems and human error as the primary factors contributing to this catastrophe. Insider information suggests that an extensive investigation has determined “incorrect signalling” as the leading cause of the accident, highlighting deficiencies within the Signalling and Telecommunications department at multiple levels. Additionally, it suggests that prior warnings prevented this tragedy had they been duly reported.

“This statement echoes our consistent stance. While the attention of the Modi government has been focused on inaugurating Vande Bharat trains, prioritizing bullet trains, and making changes to specialized cadres, it has regrettably overlooked fundamental matters concerning railway safety that may not garner immediate publicity or grab headlines,” Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh expressed via Twitter.

Ramesh further alleged that the Odisha train tragedy resulted from a human error, which traces back to a failure in management that encompasses not only administrative leadership but also political leadership. He questioned the measures required to realign the overall approach to the railways and ensure their efficient functioning.

During a press conference at the AICC headquarters, Supriya Shrinate, the party spokesperson, emphasized that the government must prioritize passenger safety. She urged the government to refrain from focusing on ancillary matters such as providing hot food or launching new train services and instead prioritize ensuring the safety of train travellers.

Shrinate highlighted that the government guarantees that individuals reach their destinations securely rather than merely inaugurating new train services.

Similarly, the Trinamool Congress criticized the central government for prioritizing public relations efforts over the safety of passengers. They accused the government of disregarding the serious concerns raised by the Opposition regarding the Indian Railways.

TMC’s Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien said, “India’s passenger trains are neglected and remain mobile mortuaries. In Parliament, opposition parties have often red-flagged serious issues and offered constructive suggestions. No one listened because public relations is prioritized over passenger safety. Was maintenance jeopardized because it was a service dog, not a show dog?”