Rising Train Accidents and the Loco Pilot Shortage Challenge

In the Lok Sabha session held on July 26, 2023, concerns were raised regarding the shortage of Loco Pilots in the Indian Railways and its potential impact on train accidents. The Minister of Railways, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology, Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw, provided answers to the questions posed by multiple Members of Parliament

Shortage of Loco Pilots

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF RAILWAYS
LOK SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO. 1016
TO BE ANSWERED ON 26.07.2023

SHORTAGE OF LOCO PILOTS

  1. DR. PON GAUTHAM SIGAMANI:
    SHRI RAJMOHAN UNNITHAN:
    SHRI MOHAMMED FAIZAL P.P.:
    SHRI SAPTAGIRI SANKAR ULAKA:
    SHRI KUMBAKUDI SUDHAKARAN:

Will the Minister of RAILWAYS be pleased to state:

(a) whether it is a fact that during the year 2022-23 the number of consequential train accidents outnumbered the previous year, similarly, non-consequential train accidents have also increased in the year 2022-23;

(b) whether it is a fact that prolonged working hours of loco pilots due to an acute shortage of manpower was suspected to be the main reason for the increasing number of accidents and if so, the details thereof;

(c) whether because of the increased train accidents, the Railways has decided to fill up vacancies and reduce the long working hours of locomotive pilots; and

(d) if so, the details thereof?

ANSWER
MINISTER OF RAILWAYS, COMMUNICATIONS AND
ELECTRONICS & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
(SHRI ASHWINI VAISHNAW)

(a): During the year 2022-23, there were 48 consequential train accidents in comparison to 35 consequential train accidents in the previous year i.e. 2021-22 (Covid Year in which train services were curtailed). During the year 2022-23, there were 162 non-consequential train accidents in comparison to 208 non-consequential train accidents in the previous year i.e. 2021-22.

It may be noted that the average number of consequential train accidents during the period, 2004-14 was 171.1 per annum, while the average number of consequential train accidents during the period, 2014-23 has reduced to 70.9 per annum.

(b): Long working hours of crew is not the major cause for accidents.

(c) & (d): Occurrence and filling up of vacancies is a continuous process. The vacancies are filled by placement of indents by Railways with recruitment agencies as per operational requirements. During the process, vacancies may arise and these are filled subsequently.

During the period from 2018-19 to 2022-23, total 35,373 Assistant Loco Pilot (ALP) candidates have been empanelled by 21 RRBs, including provisional empanelment of 5,651 ALP candidates during the year 2022-23.

Source: Loksabha

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