The Parliament’s public accounts committeehas directed the railway board to come up with a concrete action plan to eliminate the pendency of accident casesin the railway claims tribunalin six months.
More than 3,000 people die and an equal number suffer grievous injuries in accidents on the railway transportation system every year.
In its April 6 report, the public accounts committee, headed by K V Thomas, came down heavily on the railway for the huge pendency and delay in disposal of cases, which takes an emotional and financial toll on the victims and their families.
The report said that on July 31, 2016, the pendency of accident and untoward incident claim cases reported to the committee stood at 37,699. Of these, the highest pendency was in the Lucknow and Mumbai benches of the railway claims tribunal at 9,359 and 6,055 cases, respectively.
The committee observed, “The committee is deeply concerned to note such a huge number of pending cases of unsettled compensation claims with the railway claims tribunals. The acute shortage of tribunals and vacancies in existing tribunals have made the situation worse.”
The committee exhorted the railways to increase the permanent benches of the tribunals. It also asked the railways to consider the feasibility of revising the compensation amount keeping in view irreparable financial and emotional losses suffered by the kin of the deceased and disabled victims as its repercussions extend beyond the lifetime of a single individual. Mumbai MP Kirit Somaiya, convenor of the public account committee on the railways, said, “The railways should set up infrastructure for the claims tribunal so that the pendency numbers come down to zero in three years.”