Railways seeks RS 1.21 trillion from FinMin for Safety Fund
Aiming to achieve zero accidents, the Minsitry of Railways has sought more than Rs 1 lakh crore from the Finance Ministry for its safety fund. The focus for Railways through this fund is to strengthen the tracks and for upgrade the signalling system to ensure safe train operation. Regarding this the
Railway Ministry has recently written to the Finance Ministry asking for 1.21 lakh crore rupees.
While speaking to Millennium Post Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said, “We have taken up the matter with Finance Ministry and this will help us in many ways including increasing speed of Railways. These are all the spin-off benefits with the focus on increasing speed, bringing in more traffic, improving the economic viability of Railways, upgrading the system, reducing the maintenance cost and improving the viability of the entire system as a whole. The amount we have asked for from the Finance Ministry for this is 1.21 thousand crore rupees, in the long run is going to immensely help modernise Railways.”
Prabhu said that this safety fund will help India immensely in the years to come.“Over a period of time the impact of this will be huge, say in another 20-25 years. Another important component is reducing unmanned level crossing. Railways is the largest consumer of diesel in the country and we pay development cess for that. Even if that is returned then it will be very helpful for us. There is a huge logic in this and we should implement it,” he added.
Prabhu has recently written a letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seeking 1.21 lakh crore rupees to create a separate safety fund for undertaking various safety works, including track works and elimination of level crossings by construction of rail over-bridges and rail under-bridges.
Since Railways has decided to increase the average speed of trains, it is important that rail track and rail bridges are also strengthened along with signalling upgradation. Besides increasing speed of passenger service, Railways has also decided to run freight trains with 25 tonne axle load for which strengthening of track and rail bridge is essential. Railways had formed a committee comprising officials from finance, electrical, mechanical, civil and signal directorates.
The committee identified the works required for enhancing safety and accordingly submitted the report to Railway Board. "With the Board's approval, Railway Minister wrote to Finance Minister seeking to create a separate fund for strengthening safety to prevent accidents,” said an official from the Ministry. Since a majority of accidents happen at unmanned level crossings it is essential to eliminate those level crossings through construction of rail under-bridges and rail over-bridges.
The aim of the over 1 lakh crore rupees safety fund is to strengthen safety measures on the rail network to prevent accidents. Replying to a debate on Demands for Grants for Railways for 2016-17 in the Lok Sabha, Prabhu had said his Ministry has sent a proposal to the Finance Ministry for approval.
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