Spate of rail fractures creates Maintenance and Accountability Crisis on Central Railway

मुम्बई Mumbai: With a spate of rail fractures on Central Railway (CR), with the latest occurring on the Mulund-Thane fast line on Saturday causing 16 services to be cancelled, the railway faces a crisis of accountability as far as maintenance works are concerned.

Fractures occur with changes in weather such as drop in temperatures after summer and during the monsoon. Clamps at the end of railway lines shrink and loosen up, but work is not always completed. Also, as the tracks are over 10 years old and cannot be replaced fast enough, severe corrosion of material takes place.

Subhash Gupta from the Rail Pravasi Sangh pointed out that no department or worker is ever pulled up for these issues. “Our biggest weakness is governance; the railway employee has lost fear that he will lose his job if something goes wrong on his watch,” said Mr Gupta. He also mentioned that strong railway unions make it difficult to pull up workers.

Additionally, track quality is an issue since the Indian government doesn’t allow track purchase from abroad. An official said, “The civil engineering department complains about not being given good quality tracks by the railway board, which in turn says good quality tracks are available only outside India.”