Recent derailment: Batticaloa line
The writer was surprised to read the news report in an English daily of April 17, 2003 relating to the culpability of the GMR resulting from his alleged personal supervision of the reconstruction work on Batticaloa line beyond Valaichchenai when referring to the special team appointed by the Minister to probe the derailment.
The appointment was a deviation from the duly constituted "major or minor board" as specifically laid down in Departmental regulations to investigate into such occurrences, presumably in justification of the urgency of the need to fix responsibility.
In the face of the denial in refutation of the contents of the news report as appearing in statement given by the GMR in the Daily News of 22 April 2003 exculpating himself from blame attributed to him, one wonders what the special probe team revealed on the investigation carried out by it! It is a very relevant aspect.
If what the GMR has expressed that the work was not carried out under his supervision but by the chief way and works engineers representative the District Engineer of the Eastern District, who had also issued the relevant certificate for the passage of trains after due completion of work, then the contents of the news report carried in the Daily News of 17 April 2003 are questionable. The editor of the Daily News is respectfully requested to follow up on the circumstances and publish his comments as considered appropriate.
On the other hand, whoever directed the Railway authorities to complete the track restoration work to enable commuters to use the train service during the New Year holidays is also answerable.
Haste makes waste and if suitable track materials were not appropriately utilised for the reconstruction work in order to resume the abandoned train service during the New Year holidays those responsible for the supervision and issue of the relevant certificate for safe passage of trains should be dealt with for negligence.
There is also another specific matter relating to safety of trains using the Valaichchenai rail-cum-road bridge. If the longitudinal timbers over which the rails are located have not been inspected and replaced for issue of the certificate before passage of trains, there is likely to be a derailment over the bridge caused by the fast deterioration of the latitudinal timbers had they not been duly replaced before resumption of the train service.
These are a few matters the writer expects the authorities concerned to
pay heed to and take appropriate action.
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