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Here’s a figure that should really worry you: 2017-18 saw a 25 per cent increase in rail and weld fractures, the highest in the last three fiscal years. Rail fractures are one of the major causes for train derailments that could cause human fatalities.
The spike showed up in the equipment failure data collated by Railways for FY18 - 4,369 instances of rail and weld fracture as compared to 3,546 in FY17. Also on the rise are incidents of coach detachments.
The rise in cases of rail fracture comes at a time when the railway ministry is giving priority to safety over punctuality.
The figures were comparatively low in the previous years - 3,237 in FY16 and 4,219 FY15. FY14 though recorded 5,068 incidents.
In FY18, as many as 13 of 16 railway zones fared poorly on track maintenance, with the Northern Railway reporting the highest number of rail and weld fractures.
The actual figure could be even higher as the Railway Board has found serious flaws in infrastructure failure reporting by zonal railways - euphemism for data fudging.
It has sought truthful reporting of all equipment failures irrespective of their impact so that a correct picture of the state of affairs is available for taking informed management decisions and channelising resources.
This article first appeared on www.newindianexpress.com
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