New Delhi: Railways has been unable to develop a robust and reliable anti-collision device to prevent train mishaps despite carrying out field trials for over a decade, the Comptroller and Auditor General has observed in its latest report.
The device`s field trials are being carried out since 2000-01 and site acceptance tests and modifications are being done since November, 2006 in the 1,736 km-long Katihar-Guwahati-Ledo/Dibrugarh section of Northeast Frontier Railway at a cost of Rs 158.67 crore.
"But despite the long trial, a reliable anti-collision device (ACD) is yet to be developed so far. The ACD was not in a position to judge whether the inputs derived from the signalling systems were dependable," the report pointed out.
It also noted out that there was no system to detect whether the ACD installed in locomotives and guard vans were defective or not.
Similarly, the CAG has found despite commissioning of the train protection warning system (TPWS) in Southern Railway as a measure to prevent accident in May 2009 at a cost of Rs 49.49 crore, the trial reports indicated various failures of the equipment requiring modifications in the software.
"The performance efficiency recorded during trials was between 77 and 90 per cent as against the acceptable level of 99.9 per cent...The TPWS work commenced in 2005 in North Central Railway had not yet been completed despite incurrence of expenditure of Rs 41.54 crore," the report said.
The CAG has found that out of total 552 ACD installed at stations and level crossings both manned and unmanned, 188 were either defective or were not working in account of theft of solar panel provided for charging the batteries of the devices.
Besides 37 mobile ACDs out of 785 provided in the locomotives and guard vans were also lying defective. The total expenditure incurred on supply and installation of ACDs as well as actual operation and maintenance incurred up to June 30 last year was Rs 158.67 crore, out of which the annual maintenance costs accounted for was Rs 66.08 crore.
The Audit found that as actual ACD coverage was not available to two-third of the passenger trains and more than 50 per cent of freight carrying trains, the risk of averting collision was more or less the same even after incurrence of expenditure of Rs 158.67 crore.
Referring to the decision for extension of ACD coverage to other zones including Southern, South Central, South Western, Eastern, East Central, East Coast and South Eastern Railway, the Audit found that there was negligible progress in the installation and commissioning of works in these zones.