Chennai: Over nine months after the Arakkonam rail tragedy that killed 11 passengers, motorman A Raj Kumar, who was held responsible for the accident, was sacked on Wednesday. This is the first time a motorman has been dismissed from service for a charge as serious as threatening the lives of the passengers, Southern Railway sources said.
The accident happened on September 13 last year when a speeding Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) rammed into a stationary passenger train at Chitteri station near Arakkonam in Vellore district. Not only had Raj Kumar’s MEMU allegedly jumped the red light, investigations established that he was also chatting on his mobile phone minutes before the incident occurred, Southern Railway sources said. The pink slip was served at Arakkonam, where Raj Kumar was working as a motorman, the sources added.
“It is a lesson for every loco pilot and motorman; they must be cautious while driving,” a senior railway official, who preferred anonymity, told Express.
On the ill-fated day, Raj Kumar pulled the train out of Arakkonam Railway Station and was headed for Vellore Cantonment. He was reportedly doing 97 kmph and allegedly jumped the red light as he was on the phone.
“He started from Arakkonam at 9.15 pm. Within the next 10 minutes, the MEMU dashed into another Katpadi bound passenger train, which had just started rolling, in Chitteri village,” an official, who investigated the accident earlier, said.
The report of the Commissioner of Railway Safety, who conducted the departmental probe, also put the accident in the “failure of the railway staff” category.
Apart from his pink slip, Raj Kumar has to stand trial in court for his callous act. An over 600-page chargesheet was filed by the police in a court at Arakkonam on March 2.