Metro fire report calls for cameras

None of the rakes in the Metro fleet has cameras

By Debraj Mitra in Calcutta
  • Published 12.02.19, 1:05 PM
  • Updated 12.02.19, 1:05 PM
  • a min read
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The air-conditioned Metro train that caught fire on December 27 Telegraph picture

Metro coaches should have CCTV cameras and a system that enables the driver to effectively communicate any information to the passengers, the commissioner of railway safety (eastern circle) has recommended in his final report on the December 27 fire accident in an air-conditioned rake.

The preliminary recommendations submitted by Mohammad Latief Khan to the chief commissioner of railway safety in Delhi in the first week of January had also mentioned CCTV cameras.

None of the rakes in the Metro fleet has cameras.

Khan’s final report, which Metro Railway received on January 28, identifies lack of communication between the driver and the passengers stuck in the train for more than 20 minutes as one of the primary failings of the emergency response system.

Panic-stricken passengers stuck in the stuffy coaches broke windowpanes with fire extinguishers to let in air. Some people jumped out through the windows, landing hard on the track. At least five people suffered fractures.

Khan’s report recommends a “talkback system” on each coach through which the driver, guard and passengers can communicate. The newer rakes on the north-south route have talkback units through which the driver can guide passengers.

“After every trip, recordings are to be sent for analysis so that we are better equipped to handle an emergency situation,” Metro spokesperson Indrani Banerjee said. “The report also recommends proper signage at stations and tunnels to guide passengers to the nearest exit during an emergency.”

According to the report, a Metro control room should have hotlines with the fire services department and the city police headquarters. “The hotlines are already there. They have been operational for some time,” an official said.

A copy of the report has been marked to the chairperson of the Railway Board.