Balasore crash prompts Rail ministry to impose Hefty fines for digging near cables

Balasore train accident

The Ministry of Railways releases an order of imposing hefty fines of Rs 1 lakh  that any contractors engaged in digging work who operate without licence, engage in negligent labour, or fail to take reasonable precautions to protect utilities such as signalling, electrical, and telecommunication lines. The Ministry’s directive on how to conduct digging operations near signalling, electrical, and telecommunication wires was released for the first time since 2013 and just days after the Balasore triple train accident, which left at least 290 people dead.

The fine will be Rs 1 lakh if simply a quad or signals cable is broken, as per the rules. The penalty is Rs. 1.25 lakh for damage to optical fibre cables alone. Additionally, the contractors would be responsible for paying Rs 1.5 lakh in damages for both quad cables and optical fibre cables. The penalty is Rs. 1 lakh in the event that an electrical cable is damaged. Additionally, the zonal railways have been instructed to make sure that all bids for projects involving cables include these regional instructions and directives.

The Ministry has also stated that the executive in charge of the project should act and make a decision about the cable-cut case within 15 days, and that contractors would have the right to appeal any penalty levied at the Additional Divisional Railway Manager (ADRM) level within one month of notice. According to the new regulations, cable route marking for all types of cables must be made available block by block, section by section, on Railnet. Before allowing the contractor to work close to the tracks, the work executing agency should make sure that the contractor has been given permission by the division to do so in accordance with the local instructions.