Itarsi RRI Fire Accident: MPHC admits plea, notices slapped on Railways, WCR

Bhopal (BPL): Madhya Pradesh high court (MPHC) has served notices to Union railway ministry, railway board and west central railway (WCR) challenging disruption of railway traffic following a fire in route relay interlocking (RRI) at Itarsi railway station on June 17. MPHC has admitted the PIL on Tuesday and has sought reply from respondents in two weeks’ time.

The petition filed by major trade union forum, National Front of Indian Trade Unions (NFITU). National president Deepak Jaiswal, claimed that though defence ministry has ordnance factories in Katni, Jabalpur and Itarsi where goods trains ply, railways didn’t come out with a contingency plan to tackle the huge signal disruption having far-reaching consequences.

Double bench of Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice S K Gupta served notices to secretary Union Railway Ministry, Chairman Railway Board and General Manager, WCR.

The petition underlined that RRI cabin caught fire on June 17 and railway traffic has been affected since. Scores of trains have been cancelled and several other diverted or short terminated, causing a financial loss running into crores to public exchequer and greatly inconveniencing common man. In his petition, Jaiswal’s pinned blame on negligence of railways authorities.

Disrupted train traffic has affected sick people, outstation exam candidates and businessmen. In several instances, people couldn’t reach courts during important hearings. Postal services and other essential services were badly suffered, the petitioner said.

It was also pointed out that RRI system was to be replaced in 1998, but even after 17 years it was not done despite there were preparations for it. A high-level inquiry into the matter and action against responsible railway officials was demanded. Advocates Rajesh Chandra and Monesh Sahu represented the petitioner at high court.